Will BMC's pending projects get a much-needed push?
Property tax waiver, reformation of debt-ridden BEST, implementation of Coastal Road project and nightlife policy yet to become reality
With Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray all set to helm the state government, what needs to be seen is whether some of BMC's pending projects — property tax waiver for houses less than 500 square feet, reformation of the debt-ridden BEST, implementation of the Coastal Road project and nightlife policy — which are also some of Sena's pet projects, gets fast-tracked.
In the last municipal election in 2017, Sena had promised in its manifesto to waive off property tax for houses less than 500 square feet. Immediately after coming to power, Sena corporators approved the proposal in the general body meeting. It was then sent to the government's Urban Department. Though the state government issued a GR in April this year mentioning that a general tax had been waived off for houses up to 500 sq feet, it was later found that they had only cut the general component of the property tax, which is just 10-30 per cent. Now it's in Sena's hands to waive off the property tax before the end of the financial year.
The nightlife policy is a pet project of Yuva Sena supremo and MLA Aaditya Thackeray. He has been promoting it since 2013. The Sena-ruled BMC had approved it in 2014, but the government didn't give its nod sighting security concerns. The policy would allow hotels, malls and shops to remain open 24 hours. Aaditya once again proposed revival of the policy in a recent election rally. Now, with his father heading the government, it might become a reality.
The debt-ridden BEST undertaking is one of the long-term issues faced by the Sena. The party has always pointed out that due to the state government's lethargy in dealing with the problem, it never got solved. The recent budget mentions that the transport wing is reeling under a debt of R2,250 crore.
It will also be interesting to see the progress of the R12,000-crore coastal road project, because while on one hand Sena considers it to be their dream project, on the other they are against the Aarey Metro car depot for the environmental hazards it poses. "Undoubtedly many of the pending projects will be approved following an assessment of the details," said a Sena leader in BMC.
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