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Will state ministers swear by Mumbai?

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2009 00:44 IST
Rajendra Aklekar

How many of Mumbai’s long-pending problems will be solved over the next five years?

How Mumbai evolves will depend a lot on the ministers who will be sworn-in on Saturday.

Many state departments are key to making Mumbai a better city, and citizens feel they should be headed by the most efficient ministers.

Among the critical ministries are urban development, transport, public works and housing — it is these ministries’ decisions that will determine the quality of life in Mumbai.

“The three ministries important for Mumbai, in order of priority, are: home, to ensure security, urban development and housing. We want result-oriented ministers who have the common man’s interests at heart and who do not succumb to the pressure exerted by the real estate mafia,” said DM Sukhtankar, a former state chief secretary.

“Certain ministries are vital for the development of the city. Urban Development, for example, takes a call on granting floor space index, de-reserving open spaces and protecting mangroves. We need an upright person heading it,” said GR Vora, a Right To Information activist.

However, some feel there is little hope in the current political set-up.

“No one takes up a ministry to serve the people. It’s about which is more lucrative. For example, why does the Home Department always stay with the National Congress Party? It’s all about political control and connections,” said Mumbai’s first citizen corporator Adolf D’Souza.

Former cabinet secretary BG Deshmukh felt that the overall performance of the state government is important for Mumbai’s well-being. “You can’t consider Mumbai in isolation. There are a lot of other urban centres. Ministries can’t be decided on the basis of Mumbai’s needs. Whatever happens in the city’s surrounding areas also affects it. All ministries are equally important,” said Deshmukh.