Road names more important to corporators than repairs

Apr 18, 2013, 07:28 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Councillors raise issues as banal as renaming roads in ward meetings but can't address the 30,000 complaints by citizens about their hopeless state

If you thought filing a complaint about your problems related to civic facilities with the authorities would give you some respite, you are mistaken. Praja Foundation, an NGO, in its recent report highlighted that most of the questions asked by councillors during ward committee meetings were related to renaming of city roads and chowks.

Prominent members of the standing committee like Rahul Shewale, Rais Shaikh and Mohan Mithbaonkar have asked no questions at all during last year’s ward committee meetings. File pic

The BMC received about 29,856 complaints regarding the miserable condition of roads, which were conveniently avoided by the elected members. Interestingly, the report also revealed that Mayor Sunil Prabhu also got away with asking for a road in Goregaon to be renamed. Prabhu, said, “Being the mayor of the city I have to think about the city first and not just the ward. Plus, I don’t receive any such complaints at the ward level as most of them are taken care of by the ward officer, and if they don’t I get the work done.”

Much to the dismay of Mumbaikars, standing committee members such as its chairman Rahul Shewale, Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Shaikh, deputy mayor Mohan Mithbaonkar and health committee chairman Geeta Gawli asked no questions at all during last year’s ward committee meetings. Deputy Mayor Mithbaonkar, said, “Being second to the mayor in the BMC, I have to solve issues and not just raise questions. Hence, I chose not to ask any questions in the ward committee meetings.” Ward committee meetings are held once every month.

While Shaikh said, “I don’t attend ward committee meetings, as I feel we have a larger platform here in the BMC to talk about policies for the betterment of the city as a whole.” Nitai Mehta, founder of Praja, said, “We have counselled about 100 corporators on various BMC issues and have also explained to them about various problems they can solve. If the members, including the Mayor, refuse to put it up during the meetings, what hope do we have?” 

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