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Mumbaikars speak out to tweak their budget

After MiD DAY's report that BMC has invited opinions from citizens before clearing budget 2012-13, they have been mailing standing committee their ideas and expectations

Six days ago, chairman of the BMC standing committee Rahul Shewale appealed to the public to make recommendations for amending the civic budget in a bid to forge what officials have dubbed the 'Mumbaikars' budget'. And Mumbaikars have spoken. Responding through e-mail, they said they want reasonable water charges, good roads, encroachment free footpaths, open spaces and a single-window facilitation system in the coming fiscal.

MiD DAY had first published about the citizens' budget on March 23 ('Want to tweak the budget? Mail BMC').
Said Shewale, "I started receiving responses immediately after MiD DAY published the article. I will try to include as many of the citizens' suggestions in this budget to make it 'Mumbaikars' budget'."

This is the first such attempt to incorporate ideas by the public in the civic budget. The standing committee will discuss the issues raised by citizens specially to amend the budget. Citizens can e-mail Shewale their views and expectations from the civic budget until April 4. Subsequently, committee members will discuss the issues and then clear the budget.

What we want
Francis Sequeira, one of the respondents, expected more provision in the budget for developing open spaces. "Add more gardens in all the wards in the city by taking over the reserved open spaces so people can find more breathing space," said Sequeira, in his letter to the chairman. He also asked for the reduction in the number of hawkers on roads and pavements, as encroachment by them causes serious problems for pedestrians, especially at the entrance of railway stations, where hawkers block ingress and egress of people.

Menino Gomes, resident of Kondivita Gaothan in Andheri (E), asked for better roads. He gave an example of the Ramkrishna Road in Andheri. "This road has no level and is in terrible condition for the last 12 years," said Gomes. Another citizen SN Naik suggested that the contractor should be held responsible for disintegrating roads and delays in road works.

No NOCs
Many buildings don't have occupation certificates because of technical problems with the builder and the housing society. "These buildings had to pay 400 per cent water charges, which is exorbitant and should be minimised. The civic body should start a one-window system to clear documents related to building proposals department," said Ganesh Kamat in his reply to the chairman.

Voices
Inviting views of the common man is a good idea, but the standing committee chairman should really act and amend provisions as per the citizens' suggestions. This should not turn into a publicity stunt.
Anil Mahadik, Dadar

We welcome the idea. The BMC should spend the money it has kept aside for acquiring and developing open spaces.
Santosh Gupta, Worli

It is an innovative idea to invite suggestions from people. I would suggest the chairman keep a record of these and follow them up during the year, if he is not going to include them in the budget right away.
Arjun Shinde, Kandivli

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