Race to head the BMC headquarters is on, the stage is all set candidates has already started to roll the dices. BMC which is one of the richest civic body in country, is all set for elections. This time the main and important issues to focus on are rehabilitation and dumping ground spaces. This is the key issue every candidate from North-East is currently focusing on. The North-East assembly which has comprises of Mulund, Vikroli, Bhandup (West), Ghatkopar (west), Ghatkopar (East), and Mankhurd-Shivajinagar.
Specifically speaking, the dumping grounds at Mulund, Kanjur and Deonar will mostly catch the eyes of voters. Most of the candidates from North-East, have already started their polling campaign with this issue. Deonar dumping ground is managed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which also manages two other dumping grounds in the city, one in Mulund and one in Kanjurmarg. Deonar is the largest, and, oldest dumping ground, it was setup in 1927.
The dump rises to around 114 ft. high. However, in February 2012, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai sought permission from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to increase this to around 164 ft. The waste had reached the height of an 18-storeyed tower.
There is another old dumping ground in Mulund in the north-eastern part of the city, where about 2,000 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped on a daily basis. In March 2015, a new dumping site was opened in the city by the city’s civic body in Kanjurmarg which happens to be the first dumping site which is processed scientifically.
The Deonar dumping ground has caused health issues for the residents from Mumbai’s neighbourhood of Chembur, Govandi and Mankhurd. Recurrent fires at the dump have caused conditions unfit for habitation for residents of the adjacent area. Residents complained to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai about the smoke coming out of the dumping ground, which has been affecting asthma patients. A fire had broken out at the Deonar dumping ground in January 2016 causing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to shut down 74 schools run by it for two days, as the smoke from the ground veiled the area causing breathing difficulties. The fire in the dumping ground gained a lot political mileage.
In this North-East assembly, Mulund currently has a strong hold of BJP, Shiv Sena has a good voter base in Bhandup and Vikhroli is strong voter base on Maharahtra Nav Nirman Sena(MNS). Ghatkopar currently has corporators from BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. In this assembly there is a strong tiff between Shiv Sena-BJP, which will be benefitting for Congress, NCP and MNS. Some supporters from RPI (Republican Party of India), are about to join Congress, which will give Congress a boost in this assembly.
Vikhroli, Bhandup, and Mulund is mainly a chawl system based areas and till today they face a lot problems of water.
Last week, while addressing a gathering of north Indians in Ghatkopar (West), Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam promised them 24×7 water that would also be pure and free, if the Congress were elected to power in the BMC. A little earlier, in the last week of December, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke about providing 24-hour water supply, while inaugurating the upgrade work of a 12-inch water pipeline to 18 inches, to improve water supply around Rajawadi, in Ghatkopar (East).
The Shiv Sena, which has controlled the BMC for the last two decades, has been promising 24-hour water supply for more than a decade now. In 2007, the Sujal Mumbai Abhiyaan was launched with the same objective but could not be implemented due to technical issues. It, however, focused on the redressal of complaints of water contamination and leakages and construction of underground water tunnels. The civic body had spent around Rs 1,000 crore on the Sujal Mumbai Abhiyaan.
Subsequently, another project called the Water Distribution Improvement Project (WDIP) was launched in July 2014, again to provide 24-hour supply. The civic body’s attempt to provide 24-hour supply under WDIP covers 15 wards in the suburbs. While the pilot project was expected to be completed within a year, it is not yet complete even as two-and-a-half years have passed.
Water issue in Vikroli, Bhandup and Mulund. The traffic caused by narrow roads and Metro rail construction in Ghatkopar and Bhandup. Shanties which are there in every part of this areas and their rehabilitation. Vikroli workers colony which is Asia’s largest workers colony, and, Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar rehabilitation are important issues.
Will all this issues be addressed during this BMC elections, or will people from North-East again will have to suffer due negligence from their elected representatives. It will interesting to what which party woes the voter, solves their daily problems.