Congress ‘City Development Cell’ to recommend solutions

Cell will study problems related to rapid urbanisation

The Maharashtra Congress on Saturday launched a "City Development Cell" to tackle issues related to the rapid pace of urbanization in the state by recommending solutions to the state and central governments for action.

The cell will have experts on urban issues and is in the process of drafting a status paper to be submitted to the state government soon. Advocate and former MoS for urban development B A Desai will head the cell.

"While cities in Maharashtra generate employment and revenue, living conditions in Mumbai and other cities are not relatively good. There is a growing number of slums. The Cell will study issues related to cities and submit recommendations to improve the situation," said MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant.

He added that the urban policy needed to focus on the common man, "aam admi".

The latest figures put population of Maharashtra's urban areas at 45.23 per cent. There has been rapid urbanisation in Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur and Pune.

The cell has a committee of former chief secretary D M Sukhtankar, former Mumbai municipal commissioner J G Kanga, consultant to the World Bank Vidyadhar Phathak, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) chairman Pankaj Joshi, senior journalist Kumar Ketkar and presidents of district Congress committees to draft recommendations on urban issues to be submitted to the government.

"The report prepared by the committee will be submitted to the state and Central governments," said Sawant.

CM meets Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a brief meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday morning at the state guest house, Sahyadri. Home Minister R R Patil also called on Pawar later at his residence.

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