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Elections 2014: Dynasty clashes in Mumbai North Central

We bring you the mandates and key issues that the candidates, who come from prominent politicians’ families, have included in their manifestoes

With the polling date of Lok Sabha elections in the city approaching, mid-day brings you the five crucial issues in the Mumbai North central constituency, and how the contestants — BJP’s Poonam Mahajan, Farhan Azmi (SP) and Priya Dutt (Congress) hope to deal with them

Poonam Mahajan, BJP
Poonam Mahajan, BJP

Slums
The problem of slums in Mumbai is not a new one. In fact, a vast majority of the population lives in slums. Rehabilitation of slum dwellers is an issue Mumbai needs to tackle immediately. The Shiv Sena–BJP alliance in Maharashtra was the first to recognise this issue and passed the Slum Rehabilitation Act.

As a Member of Parliament, I will ensure that there are enough sanctions from the Central government to facilitate adequate, efficient rehabilitation, while also ensuring no violation of human rights takes place in the process.

Women’s safety
Knowledge and awareness is one of the greatest assets that you can have as a woman. I will start awareness drives specifically for women to educate and empower them. I propose that we have ‘mahila police chowkies’ run by women, in order to ensure greater comfort and sensitivity while dealing with cases relating to women’s safety. I will also work towards making more stringent laws and their better enforcement.

Environment and mangroves
Mangroves play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately awareness about their importance is not widespread. Besides awareness drives, I will ensure that all schemes passed by the Centre with regards to infrastructure development in the city do not ignore environmental concerns. I will also make sure to push for moving towards renewable and sustainable sources of energy. With regards to all environmental concerns, it is important that we are proactive and not reactive.

Roads, parking and encroachment
I believe that the biggest hurdle for fixing road conditions and footpaths is coordination between all relevant central, state and local agencies. Weather it does or does not fall under the purview of a Member of Parliament, I will take up the issue. For traffic management and parking issues, I believe that we need innovative solutions and involvement of all stakeholders for the same.

Infrastructure
I believe infrastructure is where Mumbai has been greatly lacking. In the now wound-up JNNRUM scheme, Mumbai was sanctioned the most money. But in the past seven years, just one project has been completed. I will ensure more funds for Mumbai and Mumbai-centric infrastructure projects that will give our city much-needed respite. Most importantly. I believe in citizen-centric agenda for the city — a PPP model, that is, a public-politician participation model.

Farhan Azmi, Samajwadi Party
Farhan Azmi, Samajwadi Party

Slums
Almost 70% of this constituency stays in slums. These poor residents come out in full force to add to the major chunk of the polling percentage. Yet, for decades, they have been fighting for basic fundamental rights such as clean drinking water, sanitation, educational facilities, health care and roofs on their heads.

Little boys and girls are seen standing in lines at illegal water taps manned by the water-tanker mafia instead of attending school. I will fight against corruption and expose the Congress-builder nexus.

Women’s safety
Iwill implement Supreme Court’s guidelines to form a special grievance cell for women at workplaces and educational institutions. I will also support the 33% reservation for women, subject to sub-reservation for scheduled castes, Muslims, Christians and OBCs.

I demand a special court/bench to deliver quick justice against rapists/molesters and demand more women police force deployment around public places as well as educational institutions. I will also set up counselling committees to raise awareness about this issue in the lower strata of society. I’ve already launched a helpline under SP’s youth wing to help fight for victims of sexual abuse and discrimination, register FIRs and provide legal aid.

Environment and mangroves
Haphazard development and corrupt practices in this constituency, owing to builders enjoying brazen support of corrupt Congress MLAs and MPs have led to gross damage to the environment. Illegal dumping of debris and encroachment supported by the government have killed enough mangroves in this area, causing permanent damage to the environment and sea life. Special forces from the BMC and the police must be formed to monitor these areas.

Roads, parking and encroachment
To cover up failure to develop road infrastructure and help decongestion, the Congress-NCP government, in partnership with the Shiv Sena-BJP, has dug up the entire city’s roads, causing major jams, traffic woes and delays even to ambulances, school buses and emergency vehicles such as fire brigades etc.

Was 40 years of Congress rule in this constituency not enough to do this? I propose monitoring of road development, as almost all road projects, rail projects, flyovers etc have been delayed by many years, leading to criminal hikes in budgets and usage of substandard materials for construction.

Infrastructure
Fighting and eliminating corruption in all areas of education and infrastructure, including roads and flyovers, in BMC hospitals and schools, and in MMRDA and municipal hospitals will ensure swift implementation, modernisation and allotment of more funds through special status for this constituency, as it houses people from the lowest to the top strata of society. Quarterly interaction with the residents to review and identify issues and vigilance of all projects and funds, including MPLAD funds, will ensure development and equal opportunities.

Priya Dutt, Congress (Sitting MP)
Priya Dutt, Congress (Sitting MP)

Slums
I have already been working hard in this area to provide sanitation and basic rights of the people to water, food and housing. Laying of water pipes, setting up of toilet blocks, repairing and installing of new drains/passages/flooring is also being done. We have addressed the problem of people living in the airport periphery. Rehabilitation of the people should happen (on airport land itself). My vision is to make Mumbai a slum-free city.

Women’s safety
Iwould first like to highlight what I have already done in this area. In light of the Mumbai and Delhi rape cases, and as a solution to the spate of robberies and thefts that were taking place in my constituency, CCTV cameras with online surveillance at the Bandra police station have been installed in the bylanes of Bandra, Khar and Santacruz.

The success of this pilot project will be taken forward shortly to cover the entire constituency. I started an Android app for women’s safety. During emergencies, one has to only shake the mobile vigorously and an SOS message is immediately sent to a contact person. I also introduced the 103 helpline number and the new police helpline for women travelling alone at odd hours.

Environment and mangroves
An eco-friendly garden union park in Bandra (W) came up. Maintenance of Carter Road and Bandstand promenades in Bandra (W) is also being done. We started the concept of ‘car-free day’ with the sole aim of protecting the environment and promoting alternate and public modes of transportation. We installed 126 solar lights on the streets across our constituency. For the past nine years, we have been cleaning up Juhu Beach after Ganpati Visarjan. I will continue my work for a better environment.

Roads, parking and encroachment
I had been addressing the issues of the H-East ward time and again, but received no action from the concerned officials. We held a morcha with over 3,500 people over this callousness, and met the additional municipal commissioner. They have assured us of addressing the issues within assigned time frames.

As an MP, I work at various levels and capacities to secure services for my constituents. Local problems are taken up with the BMC. Better coordination between different layers of government — central/state/BMC — is my aim. We should build car parks and implement carpools to decongest our roads.

Infrastructure
Many key projects like Sahar Elevated road, Milan ROB and Santacruz-Chembur Link Road were undertaken and completed in the last five years with the help of funds allocation from the central government. The Kherwadi Flyover that stretches from Kalanagar junction to Vakola flyover will ensure a smooth drive from Dahisar checknaka to Worli, if one uses the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The 9.9-km-long Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL), estimated to cost around Rs 4,045 crore, will also come up.

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