CM Devendra Fadnavis - Crack the whip on BMC (61,000 crores in cash but Mumbai in a mess)

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Till this Friday, 29th September, 2017, most of us must have read about the hundreds of pothole deaths, deaths due to flooding of our city, due to open manholes, due to crowded trains, due to dilapidated buildings, building crash due to faulty approvals and must have cursed our government and thanked our stars for saving us & our loved ones from this.

But on 29th September, when Mumbai celebrated Dussehra, my family along with 22 others mourned the death of our loved ones which simply put was a mass murder and could have been easily avoided had the Railway officials paid heed to the numerous appeals by commuters who had already predicted a stampede on the narrow Elphinstone bridge taken by thousands of commuters daily.

Though rumours and the growing public indiscipline too paid a part in this tragedy , this was majorly due to the apathy of all the governments who ruled our states for years and have put Mumbai in a mess.

I appreciate the efforts of the current government though, my cousin’s family got the Rs.5 lakh compensation the very next day but wish they could get our family members back instead of the compensation. I now just hope the various announcements made after the tragedy are also executed as quickly as they were made.

I think it’s time we consider the tragedies that happen due to government apathy as our own and decide to take some action and not simply turn a blind eye. Its time we slow down in our busy lives and look around and raise voice for the mess the politicians and bureaucrats have put our city into. Its time we speak out for our rights, it’s time we stop travelling like animals in trains, stop at just shedding tears for pothole deaths, stop turning the page to deaths caused by government apathy which simply put could have been avoided and start speaking out about it.

While I still wish to believe Piyush Goyal and think he will sincerely execute the string of actions he promised, there is still a lot which needs to be done for Mumbai and for that somebody needs to whip BMC-THE RICHEST CIVIC BODY IN ASIA out of its deep slumber and our hopes are on Maharastra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Though he has started some good projects recently he needs to really crack the whip hard on BMC.

Some pointers about BMC (Source – TOI)

Do you know BMC has a cash pile of 61,510 crores. Yes…..you have read it right…..61,510 crores (No prizes for guessing why political parties are so desperate control BMC). If this money is equally distributed among the 12 million people living in Mumbai, each one would get around Rs. 50,000 and each penny of this belongs to us, its our hard earned money which lies in their coffers.  While these politicians travel in air-conditioned high-end cars, we travel like animals in overcrowded trains, buses, travel hours to reach our offices and most of us get yelled at too by our bosses for reporting late to work and yes some even die by falling out of overcrowded trains, due to pothole ridden roads, uncovered manholes, floods due to shoddy desilting and some due to trees which have not been pruned/chopped on time.

Mumbai is the financial capital of India, one of the busiest cities of the world but look at the shameful state of this city. Some time ago former actress Twinkle Khanna tweeted a picture of a person openly defecating. But more than these people the government is to be shamed for fewer public toilets which are very badly maintained. I am sure people in cities openly defecate more out of no choice. No one would like to go through the humiliation if given a better option.

Request you to read this very informative article which appeared in the Times of India in March 2017 written by Nauzer Bharucha

https://m.timesofindia.com/city/mumbai/bmc-sits-on-rs-61510cr-cash-stash-yet-services-a-mess/articleshow/57639930.cms

Some points from the same for easy reference (Source – TOI)

1) Annual interest on the cash in BMC deposits of around 61,000 crores is around 4500 crores per year. Most of the civic work which the city needs can be done using the interest amount alone.

 2) BMC has spent a whopping 9000 crores to repair, cement concrete roads but 80% of it is shoddy inferior quality work because of cheats in the form of road contractors who are hand in glove with civic engineers. Bad roads have cut short many lives and these contractors have to be held responsible.See action point 4.

 3) For a civic body which has 61,000 crores in its bank accounts , Mumbai has no modern sewage treatment plants and hence discharge humungous 2700 million litres of untreated sewage waste into the sea everyday.  Only recently the BMC has decided to set up sewage treatment plants at 6 place at the cost of 10,000 crores. Why was the BMC dozing all these years over our hard earned money?

 4) Mumbai still depends on landfills for garbage disposal while the world over cities treat this waste scientifically. Cannot BMC use the money kept idle in Bank lockers?

Some other points:

 1) BMC has not been audited properly for several years now, some audit queries pending for nearly 22 years. A civic body which has around 61,000 crores in it bank accounts is not audited, so you can imagine the amount of scams possible.(Source : http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-bmc-wakes-up-to-pending-audit-trail-2384973

 2) BMC schools are getting worse by the day, most have no head masters, no good teachers no proper amenities

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-70-bmc-schools-have-no-headmasters-2046818

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-admissions-in-bmc-schools-at-all-time-low-2280747

3) BMC hospitals are in pathetic state.

4) Shoddy desiltation has led to frequent flooding. Lot of contractors here have taken the BMC for a ride

5) Mumbai is choking due to growing pollution, the climate getting worse by the day. Trees are felled by BMC for supposedly development activities but inspite of a law being in place there has been no proper replantation of trees or saplings happening.

(http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/bmc-permits-axing-of-25k-trees-but-has-no-transplantation-records/story-v7EdrAINh7JlvjYUW64hwM.html

While the world is online including our PM, CM, railways, Mumbai Police, Why is BMC not online. Is it so that they are not disturbed from their sleep?. Is it because people will start tweeting their innumerable worries worsened by BMC’s apathy and they will have no place to hide?  

Some action points :

1) Make BMC transparent. All the deposits, interest earned, details of contracts offered to contractors with their names, contract money made should be available online for public viewing.

 2) Fastrack BMC audit to understand the incompetencies, make the audit report public.

 3) Form a committee with the best brains ( I am sure we have so many) and form a road map on how to best utilise the cash in BMC lockers for the well being of the city.

4) Proper repairs and maintenance of all roads in Mumbai. Contractors should be penalised for faulty construction work, should be made to repair without further payments. Repeated offenders should be blacklisted and prosecuted.Need a big change in rules for offering tenders to contractors. Completed projects should be inspected by an independent body. Penalties should be levied immediately in case the report is not satisfactory.

5) Garbage treatment, Water recycling, proper desilting of rivers, nullahs( not only before the rains) be given priority.

6) Form a committee to monitor working of all BMC schools. Use BMC funds to hire good talent for BMC schools, improve facilities in school to improve falling admission rates.

 7) Improve facilities at BMC hospitals       with importance on cleanliness. An independent committee can keep a close       watch on its working and report to CMO every 15 days.

 8) Identify / Fastrack redevelopment        procedures of dilapidated building to avoid mishaps.

9) Make all the list of projects planned for the city available online including the estimated start date, estimated completion date and the money allocated. Make the annual BMC budget easily available for public viewing including the amount spent, unspent, projects completed, uncompleted at the end of the year.

Finally  though  a lot of changes, projects being brought about by the current BJP government but we request CM Fadnavis to prioritize projects for the well being of Mumbaikars as years of neglect has worsened the condition of our city and hence a lot needs to be done on a war footing. Projects like the Chatrapati Shivaji Memorial can be put on hold till the above mentioned important issues are addressed. For now cant we build a world class 'Chatrapati Shivaji Memorial Hospital' or a world class 'Chatrapati Shivaji Memorial School ? Won't this be a better tribute to the great King who toiled for the well being of his subjects. Even if some still insist can this memorial in the sea be done after all important issues are taken care of so that government does not come up with 'lack of funds' excuse for safety measures?

We have lot of expectations from the Fadnavis Government and as Piyush Goyal has made some very important decisions through emergency meetings hope Devendra Fadnavis too cracks the whip on BMC, holds it accountable, looks into the civic issues of Mumbai on a war footing and gives our city its long deserved due.



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