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Lok Sabha Elections 2014: The battle for Mumbai South

With the elections less than three weeks away, Sujit Mahamulkar and Varun Singh questioned candidates on their plans for the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency

Milind Deora, Congress

Milind Deora, Congress

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
It is necessary but needs to be done, taking the community together and not allowing vested interests like private builders to make windfall profits, without accountability. The policy framework has been created and a first-of-its-kind cluster development programme is being undertaken at Bhendi Bazaar. It addresses issues of holistic development, resettlement for the time being and structured development with a clear vision. This, I’m sure, will be a model policy for Mumbai and the rest of India. On the success of this project, impact of the policy will be measured, and implementation in other areas will take place. It’s a historic move in redesigning the old city of Mumbai.

Infrastructure
Mumbai’s growing demand for infrastructure is valid. In the last ten years, Mumbai has implemented, with the help of the central government, projects like the sea link, Metro, Monorail and the freeways. Unfortunately, the state of Mumbai’s roads is becoming worse day by day, as the Shiv Sena-run BMC has no clear vision for them. There are many small projects Mumbai needs to implement. But as part of my to-do list for the next five years, I am focussing on clearing the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link to connect Sewri-Nhava Sheva. This will change the way the city operates. It will connect Mumbai to the hinterland and create a new city across the harbour, which will have affordable housing and ample land for better living.

Women’s safety
Women’s safety is a national concern. Women should feel safe in public spaces, and as a society we need to redesign our manner of looking and behaving with women in public spaces. Our government brought out a stringent act that addresses issues of verbal and sexual abuse of women. Under this law, severe judgments have been delivered. Policing and fast judicial process is one part of the solution; we need a larger consensus in the society about our attitudes.

Sanitation
Urban sanitation is directly related to quality of life and health. I have constructed toilets worth R3.7 crore in South Mumbai, out of the R19 crore available to me as the MP Local Area Development funds. I learnt that Raj Thackeray criticised me in his Pune rally for only building toilets. I take it as a compliment. It’s shameful that men and women have to go out in the open to defecate in a city like Mumbai. The ministry of drinking water and sanitation has a focussed and successful programme for building toilets in rural India. I shall work with them to channelise funds and technology to build sanitation facilities in our city.

Parking and roads
We are concerned about parking and narrow roads. But the issue is directly related to the local body and the BMC needs to relook how to decongest the roads. I have cleared the policy of waterways, which would be the first in the country and can be an alternate public transport mechanism to minimise use of cars. This would be the comfortable option to decongest roads.

Bala Nandgaonkar, MNS
Bala Nandgaonkar, MNS

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
There are thousands of buildings in South Mumbai which need to be redeveloped on top priority. Those that can be repaired should be repaired as soon as possible; people whose buildings go into redevelopment should be accommodated in the same area in a transit camp. There are some 15,000 to 16,000 illegal slums that have come up near the sea; these should be rehabilitated immediately.

Infrastructure
The state government is spending crores of rupees on Metro rail, Monorail and skywalks. But have they studied who are using these skywalks and why there is a low response to Monorail? The government should reconsider the project. I would demand a CID enquiry into this matter, as crores of rupees have been wasted in these projects.

Women’s safety
For women’s safety, I have started a six-day commando training for girls above nine years of age in my assembly constituency on a pilot basis. I plan to start this in my Lok Sabha constituency. Every woman should get basic training for her own safety to tackle emergency situations.

Sanitation
Though the issue is directly related to the local body, the state and centre should intervene to dispose of garbage in a proper manner. The government should help local bodies generate electricity from garbage, as the city generates over 6,000 tonnes of garbage every day.

Parking and roads
Apart from head offices of businesses, the first thing I will propose is to shift Mantralaya out of town to decongest the island city. Widening of roads is very difficult, as we have limited space. The government should have extended the sea link up to South Mumbai and gone for the water transport option. The BRTS project should be implemented in South Mumbai, so that people get an option for transport and fewer vehicles come downtown.

Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena
Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena

Repair and redevelopment of old buildings
Mumbai has many old building and chawls that are over 100 years old. They need immediate attention. This is a city with limited land area. Developing individual buildings is not a long-term solution. It will stress the existing infrastructure, which was built to accommodate fewer residents and cars. What we need to do is focus on cluster redevelopment, so that the area can be laid out to have all the essential services, like parks, schools, broader roads and car parking spaces, which will help improve the quality of life for Mumbaikars.

Infrastructure
Any city must have the right infrastructure to prosper. Mumbai, today, is a congested, overcrowded city crying for help. It will be my priority to bring back its social and economic vibrancy. My priority will be to revamp the port area and business districts, so that basic amenities are provided to residents to improve their quality of life and do business without stress. The biggest infrastructure project would be the toll-free coastal road, which has already been proposed by the Shiv Sena-led BMC. The proposal has already been sent to the Centre for approval. It is a unique road with gardens and cycle tracks. This will reduce travel time and pollution for Mumbaikars.

Women’s safety
Women safety is a big issue for the Shiv Sena. We will ensure that the police force is strengthened, patrolling is increased, the new laws are strictly implemented, and the guilty are quickly punished, so that it sends out a message of zero tolerance for crime against women. CCTV coverage of the city is also to be increased to cover crime-prone areas, so as to deter any person from trying to take advantage of any woman.

Sanitation
Regarding sanitation and water supply, it will be my effort to get all old pipelines replaced with new ones to see that the water is delivered and wastewater is removed without contamination. Water supply to South Mumbai is expected to increase shortly, with the new pipeline being laid.

Parking and roads
Mumbai’s roads are a complex network under three government bodies —the MMRDA, PWD and BMC. All major bridges and expressways are under MMRDA and PWD. BMC is responsible for internal roads. All roads under the municipal corporation are being converted to concrete as we speak, to ensure that residents get durable, pothole-free roads. We could look at underground parking so as not to spoil the Mumbai skyline.

*Meera Sanyal, AAP
We emailed her our questions and also tried calling her up, but did not get a response.

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