51 Mumbaiites meet mayor, demand representation in 17 BMC ward-level committees
Mumbaiites from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations in the city came together under the banner of ‘51 Mumbaikar Abhiyaan.’ They met Mumbai’s mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar on Wednesday to demand representation in 17 ward committees.
The delegation ‘51 Mumbaikar Abhiyaan’ demanded their nomination in the committees that deal with important civic issues. As the name suggests, the delegation comprises 51 members, since each of the 17 ward committees can have three representatives each.
The ward committees in the municipal body were formed under the 74th amendment to the constitution. They are supposed to include local citizens who have knowledge about the ward. Citizens can raise several issues, such as drainage, water, roads, garbage, health care and education, in the committees. The committee also has the power to pass proposals for civic projects that cost up to Rs5 lakhs.
The local representatives are supposed to help corporators in the planning and budgeting of projects in the area. However, citizens have complained that in reality, corporators elect members to the ward based on political connections rather than people who are familiar with the problems in the area.
“It has been going on for years now. However, this time, after the civic elections, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has not even initiated the process of nominating citizens to the ward committees,” said Sitaram Shelar, director of the centre for promoting democracy (CPD), which is spearheading the movement.
The elections for appointing corporators to the 277 electoral wards were held in February 2017.
In a letter to the CPD, the corporation has stated that the decision to nominate citizens to various ward committee is pending with the mayor. A civic official from the mayor’s office said that Mahadeshwar is looking into the matter and is likely to take a decision within a week.