Congress proposes two commissioners for Greater Mumbai, BJP opposes

Mumbai: Amid Congress party’s repeated resolve to go solo in the ensuing elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slated for 2022, the party leader and Mumbai City District Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh on Saturday stoked a controversy by proposing two commissioners – one for the city and another for the suburbs on the lines of two district collectors in view of growing population and rapid urbanisation in the metropolis.

To substantiate his demand made to the Urban Development Department, Shaikh said, “Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and people from different parts of the country come in search of livelihood. As a result, the city's population continues to grow rapidly. It is the responsibility of the civic body to provide civic amenities to the growing population. But as there is only one commissioner for the BMC at present, the issues of the citizens are pending for a long time.’’

He further noted, “The citizens living in Mumbai suburbs have to come to the BMC Headquarters situated opposite the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus for various administrative work. After the state government recently approved the division of P-North ward, the demand for two commissioners for the municipality is also gaining momentum. At present there are two District Collectors for Mumbai city and suburbs. It is against this backdrop that two commissioner posts should be created.’’

Shaikh’s demand comes days after BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal had reportedly complained to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi about the minister for allegedly exerting political pressure. Chahal's refusal to do the work demanded by Shaikh reportedly sparked a heated argument between the two.

Shaikh had filed a written complaint about the work of some contractors. However, the minister was believed to be unhappy over Chahal for not taking any steps in that regard.Thereafter, Shaikh in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Chahal demanded that the officials in BMC and government departments in Mumbai who have been on the same posts for more than five to six years should be shifted at the earliest.

Meanwhile, BJP has slammed Shaikh for demanding two commissioners for Greater Mumbai. “Aslam Shaikh’s demand for two commissioners for Mumbai is highly reprehensible. It has again exposed Congress party’s conspiracy to divide Mumbai,’’ alleged BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar who is party’s in charge for BMC elections. He warned that BJP will foil Congress’ attempt to divide Mumbai.

“Aslam Shaikh, who has been representing the people of Malad for the last 11 years, never felt the need to try to resolve problems pertaining to the civic body. But since I became an MLA, I have been pursuing a separate administrative ward by splitting P/North ward. Based on my demand, BMC has taken a decision and there will now be P/East and P/West wards which would benefit the citizens largely,'' he noted. Bhatkhalkar announced that BJP would stage agitation against appointment of two commissioners. He also sought the Shiv Sena and CM Thackeay’s stand on Shaikh’s demand.

Aslam Shaikh’s demand for two commissioners for Mumbai is highly reprehensible. It has again exposed Congress party’s conspiracy to divide Mumbai
BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar

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