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Elections 2014: Mumbai South Central candidates speak up

mid-day spoke to the candidates in the race for the Mumbai South Central Lok Sabha seat, to find out what issues plagued the constituency and how they plan to tackle them

Eknath Gaikwad, Congress (current MP)

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
I have already written about old buildings and the redevelopment of BDD chawl in south central Mumbai. I am sensitive about the Worli BDD chawl, as I spent a few years there. It should be redeveloped and residents should get bigger homes as soon as possible, to avert untoward incidents. I will aim for redevelopment of old buildings in future, too.

Slums
Government should plan for a slum-free Mumbai. It is possible; there is no need of funds. We only need a plan and then go ahead with a global tender. Slum dwellers would get bigger, better homes. The government should consider the concept of ‘developed city’ – this means creating a planned city.

Water supply
It is the BMC’s duty to provide clean and sufficient water supply, as they collect crores in tax from citizens. The central government provides funds to the civic body for various projects like the Middle Vaitarna project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. As an MP, I will try to sanction funds for projects, if the civic body gives us their requirement and project reports.

Bad roads
BMC floats tender worth crores of rupees, but no work has been done. Contractors approved by the Standing Committee have made bad roads. The BMC should work with the help of the MMRDA. Even the Centre is ready to help for better roads.

Pollution
If we do not consider this as a serious issue, the city will become a ‘gas chamber’ due to pollution. Vehicles are increasing day by day. The state government built the Freeway to help reduce traffic and pollution. Chembur ranks number 46 on the list of most polluted industrial areas in the nation. Industrial pollution should be checked regularly, and those industries that cause pollution should be shifted to outer parts of the city.

Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
This is a major issue for the constituency and I will deal with this issue on top priority. Areas like Shivaji Park, Mahim, Matunga, Naigaon BDD chawl, Wadala have many old buildings that need to be redeveloped. The BMC conducted a survey in April-May to decide which ones should be repaired and which are dangerous to live in. I will try to get as much help from the centre in future, as possible.

Slums
This is the most sensitive issue in the city. Slums that are legal should get alternative accommodation and Shiv Sena is not against slums; but their numbers should be in control. The state government should implement SRA schemes and rehabilitate the slum dwellers as soon as possible.

Water supply
The BMC does supply pure and sufficient water to the city. We plan to implement the Damanganga and Pinjal dam projects for the city. It is a time-consuming process to get clearances from the central government. I will try to get permissions as early as possible to get these projects done. At the same time, I will try to get maximum funding for various projects under the JNNURM scheme.

Bad roads
More than 550 km of concrete roads have been built in the city, and the BMC is implementing various technologies for better roads. A three-year plan has been scheduled to improve each and every road, and this plan will be effective. I will help the civic body if they need anything from the centre in the form of technology or funds.

Pollution
Though Sion and Chembur have the most amount of air pollution in the city, this will not be the case in future. We have planned to make Mumbai dust-free. This will help to reduce air pollution levels in the city. There are sewerage treatment plants implemented in various places. And the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project is being implemented to clean the city’s beaches.

Aditya Shirodkar, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
Many buildings under this constituency belong to the central government bodies like MbPT, Railways, and for minor repairs, they have to take permission from Delhi, which is not practical. These authorities should have offices in the city for such issues. Development of many buildings is stuck because they come under the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ). These should be dealt with as individual cases. I will do the needful to bring relief to residents.

Slums
This issue, too, is an important one. We have to speak to tenants about their expectations and demands. We have to find out if the land is legal, and then go ahead as per the rules.

Water supply
This issue is included in our manifesto. Rainwater harvesting projects should be implemented wherever possible. We would save water, and we can use it for purposes other than drinking. I will try to amend the existing laws for implementation of rainwater harvesting projects for the benefit of society.

Bad roads
The quality of roads should be maintained, but it is not happening in the city. This issue is related to the civic body.

Pollution
The Deonar dumping ground comes under this constituency, where garbage is dumped without any consideration about further treatment. We can generate electricity from this garbage, like other countries do. Untreated sewerage water flows into the sea. The civic body treats not even 10 per cent of sewerage water. To reduce air pollution in Sion or Chembur, I will study about equipment that can be introduced in industrial plants to help reduce pollution.

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