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CM takes note of Akshay Kumar’s suggestion, promises toilets every 2km in Maharashtra

The announcement came after actor Akshay Kumar pointed out at the Transform Maharashtra conclave that the lack of toilets in the state was affecting several citizens, especially women

mumbai Updated: May 02, 2017 09:51 IST
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis,actor Akshay Kumar,Maharashtra CM
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with actor Akshay Kumar during Transform Maharashtra event at NSCI, Worli on Monday.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

There will be a toilet for every 2km in all cities across the state soon, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Monday.

The announcement came after actor Akshay Kumar pointed out at the Transform Maharashtra conclave that the lack of toilets in the state was affecting several citizens, especially women. “Earlier, phone booths were built at fixed distances across the state. We could similarly have ‘toilet booths’ so people won’t have to suffer anymore,” the actor said, while also suggesting a mobile application to help people locate the nearest toilet.

The CM praised the idea and said the state will start work immediately. Countries around the world successfully implemented such a model and Maharashtra will not lag behind, Fadnavis said. He said each of these toilets will be geo-tagged with the help of the mobile application.

The conclave also saw dozens of fresh solutions for the state’s issues, such as drought and corruption, being suggested by college students. More than 10,000 students participated in the Transform Maharashtra initiative and suggested solutions for 11 of the state’s most critical issues.

10,000 students from 652 colleges across Maharashtra gave the CM fresh solutions to 11 critical issues the state is facing
A Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) that will calculate water runoff and soil erosion rates. The results can be used to plan land-use and effectively implement existing watershed programmes
An incentive-based approach to promote recycling waste. Incentives for citizens could include concessions in electricity bills and property tax; incentives for rag-pickers could be creating a market for buying and selling recycled materials
An integrated transport system, with a single authority to manage all transport modes — railways, Metro and buses. Introduction of a common ticketing systems for commuters
A training programme specifically designed for teachers imparting education in rural areas; e-learning and other modes of online education; a programme to ensure rural schools have proper sanitation facilitiess
A change in how tenders are issued — computerising them and making bids anonymous. The computer software can be designed to make it mandatory for contractors to submit applications online. It will use 16 parameters to assess their capabilities. An evaluation committee should be given this data in a jumbled format, without contractors’ names. The committee will rate each parameter on a five-point scale and contract will be given to the one with the best ratings, rather than giving it to the lowest bidder like it is done at present

One suggestion to tackle waste, for instance, was a reverse vending machine to collect plastic, glass and cans and dispense cash in return. The chief minister also said he would like to incorporate the spatial decision support system (SDSS) programme suggested by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in the state’s flagship water conservation programme— ‘Jalyukt Shivar’, to make Maharashtra drought-free .

Though innovative and path-breaking, many of the solutions were not feasible in its existing state. For instance, for a corruption-free Maharashtra, students from VJTI College suggested 16 parameters to assess capabilities of the contractors participating in the tendering process. The CM pointed out that the scam was found in the execution of the work. “We also want you to help the state to give a solution to deal with irregularities in execution of the project work,” he said.

Similarly, another group of students from College of Engineering, Pune while presenting solution for improving mobility in cities suggested for integrated ticketing system through smart card that can also be used for parking of vehicles. However, CM asked them to come out with a model of revenue distribution which should be based on actual use of the transportation mode by the commuters.

To make the students’ solutions workable, Fadnavis said a committee of ministers, senior officers and students will be formed to come up with practical ideas in the next six months.

First Published: May 02, 2017 09:49 IST