BMC sets agenda for crucial coordination committee meeting

Will raise various demands, including Rs 2,264 crore the state government owes it.

After persistent demands, the state government has finally decided to call a meeting of the coordination committee (Samanvay Samiti) headed by the Chief Minister in the next few weeks. The committee, which also includes the deputy CM, secretaries of various departments, civic officials, mayor, municipal commissioner, corporators, officials from MMRDA and other public agencies, is expected to meet regularly to discuss and resolve infrastructure-related issues and pending and ongoing projects.

However, it last met in 2001. The Shiv Sena-ruled BMC is out to make the most of the opportunity to solve long-pending problems of the city and has set the agenda.It will raise the demand for helipads to be used in disaster situations, permission to build houses on MMRDA land and increased funds to entertain foreign dignitaries, among other issues. BMC has been accusing the Congress-NCP state government of ignoring its various attempts to hold the meeting to resolve civic issues.

Mayor Sunil Prabhu said one of the crucial issues was of the Rs 2,264 crore the state government allegedly owed BMC in the form of grants, aid, local taxes refund, property taxes and sewage and water supply charges. He claimed the state government was trying to curtail rights of corporators, which was affecting functioning of democracy. With the civic administration and other public agencies not seeing eye to eye, BMC wants a list of issues to be addressed. "MMRDA, MSRDC, PWD, take BMC permission for granted while starting construction works. There should be a strict mandate of taking permission for all works from BMC," said Prabhu. The civic body has also demanded the crucial Gargai and Pinjar dams be declared 'national projects' and all approvals for Pinjar be expedited.

The mayor demanded a seperate lane for fire brigade, police and ambulance on all major roads and also a helipad for emergencies. He called for a quality audit of state-funded housing projects and Slum Rehabilitation Authority homes and strigent action against illegal dye factories in slums. High-priority issues also include re-development of gaothans, koliwadas and adivasi padas, open space and hawker policies and provision of 15 per cent of homes under SRA for BMC conservancy staff. "We have had various communications with the state government and have been promised a date soon. We plan to coordinate with various agencies in the city to provide better civic and urban infrastructure."

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