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Congress raises questions on PM Modi's visit to Mumbai, his priorities

Updated on: 15 May,2024 11:10 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh raised questions over delays in BMC elections, the sorry state of local trains and the worsening air quality of Mumbai.

Congress raises questions on PM Modi's visit to Mumbai, his priorities

Jairam Ramesh. File Pic

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Congress raises questions on PM Modi's visit to Mumbai, his priorities

Congress on Wednesday raised questions on the priorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his visit to Mumbai. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh raised questions over the ongoing delay in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections and also raised questions over the state of infrastructure in the city. 

Ramesh, in a post on X, said that the the delay in BMC elections has stirred apprehension among Mumbai's citizens. With the BMC functioning under an administrator's rule for over 18 months, concerns over democracy and citizens' rights have escalated, he added and stated that the delay, supposedly due to issues like OBC reservations and ward delimitation is a ploy by the ruling coalition, particularly the BJP, to evade facing the electorate and potential electoral consequences

"With the BMC under an unelected administrator, the ruling coalition has been using the civic body's funds and resources to benefit its own MLAs and supporters. Former corporators across parties have also highlighted issues like a lack of coordination, delays in developmental works, and lack of accountability due to the absence of local representatives. Without elected representatives, Mumbai’s citizens have struggled to get their voices heard and grievances addressed by the BMC. Why has the BJP betrayed the people of Mumbai? How much longer do people have to wait to have their voices heard," Jairam Ramesh wrote. 

He also spoke about the recent Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident wherein over 12 persons died due to the fall of an illegally erected billboard. Ramesh criticised Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's departure to Varanasi to join the PM's nomination event, leaving behind the aftermath of the tragedy. 

The Congress leader also stated that concerns about Mumbai's deteriorating air quality have been exacerbated by recent events, including a severe dust storm and alarmingly high pollution levels comparable to Delhi. The Maharashtra government's inadequate efforts to tackle air pollution, as highlighted by the Bombay High Court, have led to frustration among residents, he said. The Congress leader also raised questions on why has the PM Modi-led government "neglected" the development of the local trains. 

"The PM is visiting Mumbai in the aftermath of the horrific death of 14 people in Ghatkopar on the 13th of May due to the collapse of a large, 250-ton hoarding illegally put up on a property owned by the Railway Ministry. The illegal hoarding was on Central Government land, and the permission had been granted by the BMC, which the NDA’s State Government now administers. Within 24 hours of this horrific incident, even as some victims remained trapped under the debris, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra left for Varanasi to join the PM in his ‘show of strength.’ Does this attitude underscore Mr. Modi’s priorities, of political calculations over the people’s tragedies? Is attending the PM nomination more important than people's lives," Jairam Ramesh said on the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse.

He added, "Almost 7 people die on Mumbai’s local trains every day. These trains, which are the lifelines of the city, have increasingly become infamous for their lack of safety and horrible overcrowding at peak hours. Despite how crucial the local trains are for Mumbaikars, they have suffered during PM Modi’s Dus Saal Anyay Kaal. The Railway Ministry has failed to fill staff vacancies, leading to shoddy repair and maintenance work and frequent train derailments in the last few years."

"While Phase 3 of the Mumbai Urban Transport project was announced by the Modi Sarkar in the Railway Budget of 2015-16, the project has made little progress and is now slated for completion as late as 2031. Last April, two major corridors under this project - the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel elevated fast corridor and the Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban rail line were abruptly scrapped by the Centre. Why has the Modi Sarkar neglected the lifeline of Mumbai? How many Mumbaikars are going to die because of the PM’s inaction," Ramesh questioned.


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