Early morning walkers and joggers at the nursery of Indian cricket, Shivaji Park, were not greeted with the familiar sight of cricket in the numerous nets on the ground. Instead, the ground was taken over by the May Day parade, yesterday. So, we have speeches and we have speeches. The cynical may sigh at politician’s promises and call them platitudes. Others may turn a deaf ear to the blah blah. Yet, The Maharashtra Day Speech delivered by Governor K Sankaranarayanan to mark the occasion touched upon some city-specific issues.
Governor Sankaranarayanan said, “Let us all pay our solemn tributes to the martyrs who dreamt of creating Samyukta Maharashtra and worked towards its fulfillment.” Besides celebrating International Labour Day, the Governor also said, “We are celebrating the Birth Centenary of the first Chief Minister and the Architect of Modern Maharashtra the late Shri Yashwantraoji Chavan.” Even while talking about water scarcity and steps being taken to alleviate the problems, what the Governor said about housing will be of special interest to Mumbaikars, considering that the big ‘H’ is a hot topic in the city.
“To protect the interests of the flat purchasers, the Government has introduced a new comprehensive law titled as Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development), Act 2012. The proposed Act provides for establishing a Housing Regulatory Authority and the Housing Appellate Tribunal. This will remove information asymmetry by ensuring full disclosure by promoters or developers and also ensure compliance of agreed terms and conditions, between developer and buyers. This will usher in transparency and discipline in the transactions of flats and put a check on abuses and malpractices.”
On the contentious mill worker issue the Governor said that, “My Government has decided to provide houses to mill workers at reduced and affordable rates. In all, 6,948 houses are constructed by MHADA for the mill workers. The cost of each tenement in multistoried buildings has been reduced from the earlier price of Rs 8.34 lakh to Rs 7.50 lakh. These houses will be allotted through the computerized lottery system of MHADA.
The Government has also decided to give free houses to the next kin of the mill workers who lost their lives in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.” The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, roughly translated as United Maharashtra Committee, was an organization that spearheaded the demand in the 1950s for the creation of a separate Marathi-speaking state out of the (then bilingual) State of Bombay in western India, with the city of Bombay (now known as Mumbai) as its capital.
In this age of email, a letter is still better. At least, that is the credo of the postal department. The Governor also inaugurated a philatelic exhibition titled ‘Maharashtra Through Postage Stamps’ held by the Maharashtra Postal Circle on the occasion of Maharashtra Day at General Post Office (GPO) complex in South Mumbai. The Governor released a Special Cover on Maharashtra and a calendar on heritage buildings of Mumbai through postage stamps on what was a very busy day for him. This philatelics need to head there as the exhibition will remain open for the public till May 7, 2012.
International eye: Some May Day images from around the world