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Mumbai: Ashish Shelar demands white paper on water distribution, Metro delays

Updated on: 29 February,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

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Mumbai: Ashish Shelar demands white paper on water distribution, Metro delays

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde arrives at the Assembly amid the budget session on 28 Wednesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Key Highlights

  1. Ashish Shelar has demanded a white paper on uneven water supply
  2. He also requested the state government to direct the BMC to prepare a mega parking plan
  3. BMC was in turmoil after demands were made for a probe into alleged road cleaning scams

Ruling party MLA Ashish Shelar has demanded a white paper on uneven water supply and the effect on traffic and the lives of citizens due to delays in Metro work during a discussion over a proposed motion in the Assembly on Wednesday. He also requested the state government to direct the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prepare a mega parking plan.

A few years ago, the BMC was in turmoil after demands were made for a probe into alleged road and nullah cleaning scams. Mumbai Congress President Varsha Gaikwad accused the state government of controlling the corporation and only working to allot contracts to its friends.  She also mentioned an article published in mid-day on February 26, ‘900 tenders, worth Rs 150 cr, in 10 days’, where it was revealed that the civic body had hastily invited tenders for various works across different wards ahead of the polls.

Ashish Shelar. Pic/Satej Shinde; Varsha Gaikwad. File pic/Atul KambleAshish Shelar. Pic/Satej Shinde; Varsha Gaikwad. File pic/Atul Kamble

“Why is there so much hurry ahead of the election? Don’t the officials work during the whole year?” she asked. MLAs from the ruling party interrupted Gaikwad many times during her speech over the allegations.

Also Read: Make report of probe into allegations against me public: Ex-home minister Anil Deshmukh

Legislator’s demands

In the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the ruling party proposed a motion thanking Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputies for the work done in various cities including Mumbai. While presenting this proposal, Shelar criticised unequal water distribution across the city and suburbs and demanded a white paper on the matter within the next month. The municipal corporation allotted contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore in just five years to improve the water supply. Rs 450 crore was spent on the consultant with assurance of 24-hour water supply in two wards.  But it couldn’t even provide four hours of water to every house in the city, he alleged. He also stated that the Metro Line 3 work was delayed as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government had prevented work from being carried out on the Aarey car shed. He claimed that this caused the project’s cost to rise by Rs 10,000 crore. He requested a white paper on the rise in the expenditure, carbon emissions from vehicles that plied the route during this period and the increase in pollution. Speaking about the mega parking plan, he said about 50 lakh vehicles ply city roads and they need parking facilities.

He also demanded that the disparity in compensation for fishermen concerning the Coastal Road between Nariman Point and Worli be fixed by the BMC and the MSRDC for the portion between Bandra and Versova. He said the fishermen in Bandra and Khar should be compensated based on the BMC formula only.

Gaikwad’s allegations

Gaikwad accused the state government of interfering in the working of the BMC. “Both guardian ministers opened their offices in the BMC headquarters and the civic chief does not consider the opinions of MLAs of other parties amid the absence of corporators. There has been no election for the past two years,” she said.

Gaikwad alleged that though the BJP was making allegations about the BMC now, they were ruling partners in the civic body for 25 years. She said that under the pretext of ‘deep cleaning’, the BMC floated tenders for slum cleaning to select a ‘favourite’ contractor. “The work was earlier given to self-help groups with a salary of R6,000 per month per person. Now, the BMC is ready to award a contract worth R1,200 crore for four years, according to which a salary of R28,213 will be given to workers. Why is there so much disparity?” she asked.

She also said that Shinde had given an assurance in the Assembly one and half years ago that he would concrete all roads in the city within six months, but not more than five per cent of the work has been completed. “The monsoon is near and citizens will face potholes once again,” she said.

Gaikwad also alleged that there were mass-level irregularities and the state government was working to award contracts to its friends.  “The development fund has been used like the party fund and allotted to only select MLAs. Land parcels in Mulund, Kurla, Bandra, Khar, Dharavi, Mahim and Mahalaxmi Racecourse have been gifted to contractors ‘friends.’ It is a conspiracy to shift seven lakh of Dharavi residents who need homes in Dharavi only,” she alleged. At least 25 MLAs from the ruling and Opposition parties took part in the discussion.

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