BJP lawmaker opposes Mumbai nightlife plan

A legislator of ruling BJP today opposed the proposal of "nightlife" in Mumbai, a pet theme of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, and demanded that citizens and elected representatives be taken into confidence while taking crucial decisions related to the metropolis.

Raj Purohit of BJP, who initiated a debate on issues concerning Mumbai in the Legislative Assembly, said there is confusion among the people about what is nightlife. "Citizens are against this proposal of nightlife. When there are issues relating security of women during the daytime what will happen in the night? Those who want to enjoy nightlife can still go to five-star hotels," he said.

Whether it is pay and parking policy, nightlife or Metro 3 project, citizens and elected representatives from Mumbai have not been taken into confidence because of which there is opposition to such moves, Purohit said. "The Government has to keep the common man at the centre of all their policies and decision," said the MLA from Colaba in South Mumbai.

The nightlife plan envisages that restaurants, bars, malls, clubs, chemist shops and convenience stores will remain open round-the-clock in select pockets. Purohit also demanded that ward officials and local Senior Police Inspector be held accountable for illegal activities happening in their respective areas.

Purohit said Mumbai was not getting adequate share from central funds despite the metropolis being the largest revenue contributor to the treasury. Calling for proper co-ordination among different agencies responsible for development of Mumbai, Purohit said the "conspiracy of separating Mumbai from Maharashtra" is raised for political reasons.

"No one can separate the city from Maharashtra because this goal was achieved after putting up a huge fight and shedding blood," he said. Purohit felt scrapping of CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) norms would go a long way in expediting infrastructure upgrade and housing redevelopment.

He asked the Government to fully tap the tourism potential of Mumbai and conduct performance audit of bureaucrats responsible for administration of the financial capital. Varsha Gaikwad (Congress) said electricity, water, transport issues are the responsibility of Mumbai's civic body, ruled by the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, but funds earmarked for them are not being utilised fully.

Despite being Asia's richest civic body, only 35 per cent of its Budget (whose total size is Rs 33,514 crore) is being utilised, the MLA from Dharavi said. She said roads and municipal schools are in poor shape despite their departments being allocated Rs 6,500 crore and Rs 2,300 crore, respectively.

Instead of nightlife, the Government should concentrate on public toilets for women. Coming down heavily of the proposed Development Plan (DP), Gaikwad said certain moves like massive increase in FSI (construction rights to builders), converting non-development zones into development ones and lack of clarity on policy for recreation and playgrounds were against the interest of ordinary Mumbaikars.

She criticised the Government for not keeping its promise of conducting `bhoomipujan' for Ambedkar memorial on April 14 as the Prime Minister (who was suppose to attend the event) will be embarking on a foreign tour that day. Gaikwad said the Centre was trying to "lower" the importance of the country's financial capital.

She demanded that the proposed International Finance Centre be set up in Mumbai instead of Gujarat and asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take up the issue with Delhi. Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) said lakhs of slum-dwellers will be displaced due to the Centre's proposal to commercially develop huge tracts of land owned by Bombay Port Trust (BPT).

Ashish Shelar (BJP) demanded a probe into the preparation of the latest Development Plan by two agencies. The job of preparing the plan was given to M/s SCE Ltd, but the actual work was done by M/s Egis Geo.

When the Municipal Corporation called for expressions of interest for preparation of DP, 16 companies participated, he said. SCE Ltd, which was the lowest bidder, won the contract. However, the actual plan was prepared by another firm Egis Geo, Shelar said, adding "this is illegal."

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