Mumbai: With an attempt to avoid another slum collapse like the recent Behrampada mishap (October 2016), the Civic Chief of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Ajoy Mehta on Wednesday said that the ward officers of the 24 wards will be held responsible for structures that are above 14 feet in height. Mehta said this is important bearing in mind the recent five storey collapse of a shanty at Behrampada Bandra (east).
Mehta said, “All the ward officers will be held responsible for any existing slum structures that are unauthorised and illegal. The officers will have to submit a report of the new slums being constructed in their areas and make sure that they do not cross the limit.” Mehta was speaking at a media interaction organised by the Mumbai Press Club, as a curtain raiser prior to the civic elections.
Mehta highlighted that cleanliness and road construction are the two key issues in making Mumbai a world class city. He assured that according to the new Development Plan (DP), 24 waste segregation centres will be deployed at the ward levels thereby streamlining the process of recycling wet and dry waste. Moreover, sewage treatment plants will be constructed at seven areas Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar, Malad and Versova, which will save 2000 million litres of sewage water that is generally washed away in the sea. He emphasised that cleanliness and health are directly linked. Mehta was questioned of the apathetic conditions in the civic hospitals. “There have been cases of patients acquiring infections due to the unhygienic conditions in these hospitals and we promise to improve the conditions at Sion and KEM hospital.”
On the controversial issue of the road scam, Mehta said, “An amount of Rs 905 crores which involves the payment of these contractors has been withheld by the BMC. The six blacklisted road contractors will not be paid at any cost. It is the first time that officers at the chief engineer level have been sent to jail and a criminal liability has been charged on the contractors instead of the normal civic liability wherein the officers get away easily after paying a minimum fine.”
The coastal road project which is due to underway has been delayed due to various issues like the presence of mangroves, environmental damage, traffic permissions and sewage treatment in the suburban area. The project which is divided into two phases from Princess Street Flyover to Bandra and from Bandra to Kandivali is the key focus of the civic body.