The traffic woes in Mumbai seem to be a never ending saga. But the solution to this could be a strong corridor. In this context, Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, at an interactive meeting at Indian Merchant Chambers in Mumbai yesterday, pointed out to the 32 km coastal highway, stating that, “It is likely to get clearance soon”. Speaking of other infrastructure projects, Mehta confirmed that the Damanganga-Pinjal interstate river link project, which is to give the city’s water woes a permanent fix, is well on track and will benefit the city tremendously.
MCGM’s focus on land management has ensured that the city’s long coastline gets a short shrift. However, Mehta pointed that, “People don’t segregate waste in the city and 40 per cent of untreated sewage is dumped in the sea, thus irreparably damaging a natural resource and degrading the ocean front.” Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong have taken great care of their coastlines and there is no reason as to why Mumbai cannot do the same. Agreeing that technology is in place, Mehta added, “…to get the system going, it is important to change the tendering process.”
Speaking candidly, the Mumbai Chief outlined the hurdles facing the administration in dealing with the city’s several problems. He put the issues facing the system in three broad categories – what the MCGM does in the short term, what it does in the long term, and the experience of the citizen in dealing with the administration. While the short term focus remains on what the corporation does, the long term focus is on areas such as coastal roads, hospitals and housing. He admitted that there were issues regarding the Development Plan, but said confidently, “…everything would be sorted out with time and effort. Patience is the key, since results could not be expected overnight.” He also pointed to the huge housing backlog created in the past in the city and that the MCGM is doing its best to address the issue. A clear option is to make the city denser by enhancing FSI, but it could compromise the quality of life in the metropolis.
Also, to be available on a more interactive platform, MCGM has recently launched a Twitter handle. Mehta said that there was a pressing need to infuse a professional culture into the working of the coporation. As for the citizens experience with the corporation’s office, he said, “It should be a delight. The citizen should say that the corporation is business-led.”