Mumbai: Uddhav Thackeray, who has become the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra after facing a high voltage political drama, will continue to face a lot of challenges and hardships in days to come. The promises made by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government to Mumbaikars, most of which are in the midst and stayed unkept will have to taken forward by the Uddhav government. The Free Press Journal takes stock of works he cannot ignore as CM.
Declaring Aarey a jungle
After formally taking charge as CM, the first thing Uddhav Thackeray did was stalling the Metro-III depot work in Aarey. The citizens are now expecting the new CM to declare Aarey a jungle. The demand of demarcation of Aarey an eco-senstive zone is to protect the natural environment from further damage.
Making Mumbai slum-free
Though Mumbai is the commercial capital of the country and a lot of foreign investors visit the place, providing investment opportunities, due to which Mumbai is known as the ‘City of Dreams’ and the ‘City of Dreamers’ and due to arrival of people from other part of the country, it is also popular for its densely-populated slum areas. Mumbai alone has nearly 1.6 million slum households, of which only 1 lakh houses have been built for slum-dwellers over a period of 20 years, according to a global property consultant research report.
Seeing the influx pace, the consultant report further reads that it will take another 300 years to rehabilitate every slum households. Interestingly, no government so far has been able to rid Mumbai of slums. Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, which is ruling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and now has state powers, too, it is believed, he should be able to bring a solution to this never ending problem.
100% property tax waiver on 500 sqft houses
The Shiv Sena-controlled BMC had in July 2017 recommended to the state government that the entire property tax should be waived. However, the state government (BJP-Sena) waived just a fraction of the tax component, giving only 10-30 per cent of relief. The Congress had slammed the then government for cheating the citizens. Since, the complete property tax waiver on 500 sqft households is the Sena’s manifesto promise, and now Uddhav has the state control power, how his ministry fulfils the commitment will be looked at.
Meeting infra projects—Metro, MTHL —deadline
Ex-CM Fadnavis gave his go-ahead to several metro projects across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region during his government, along with other big ticket infrastructure projects. The Navi Mumbai International airport, Sewri Nhava Sheva Sea Link, Alibaug -Virar Multi Modal corridor and Versova-Bandra Sea Link are some projects, facing hurdles. Since a few of the metro line works have already started and expected to complete by next year, the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance government should achieve the set deadline.
Dharavi Redevelopment project
Will the much-delayed Dharavi slum redevelopment project see the daylight during the Uddhav government’s term? The previous Sena-BJP govt though issued tenders and two big firms participated, no work has been allotted so far. The Uddhav Thackeray government will have a major challenge to expedite the project work.
BDD Chawls redevelopment
Though the previous Sena -BJP government conducted the bhoomipujan (foundation stone laying) ceremony of all Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls located in Sewri, Naigaon, Worli, no civil work has started. The new coalition government will have a task of convincing the residents of the BDD chawls so to expedite the project work.
MHADA lottery houses
Since the state housing authoritydoes not have considerable housing stock, it is finding it hard to meet the rising demand of citizens, especially to provide houses in Mumbai. Due to the availability of handful houses earlier too, MHADA had held a mini-housing lottery draw. Therefore, how the Sena-Congress-NCP will meet the affordable housing demand, will be a big challenge for them.
Old buildings and cess property redevelopment:
With rising old dilapidated building and cess property collapse cases reported in the past, claiming several lives, Fadnavis had announced a separate policy to push building redevelopment projects. Despite this, residents continued to live in rickety structures, risking their lives. Nothing has been achieved. So, the Uddhav government will have to pay more attention to such long-pending issues.