y. PTI Photo(PTI6_13_2016_000065B)
y. PTI Photo(PTI6_13_2016_000065B)

Mumbai: Taking a dig at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for road, transport and highways said, “BMC has fixed deposits of Rs 58,000 crores, then how come they are unable to counter the Mumbai floods effectively? Every year this city gets submerged,”Gadkari who fell sick at a public event in Solapur, earlier this month, was in Mumbai to launch the project, “Kandavalan Udyan” (Mangrove Park). He said, with this project, India will have its second mangrove sanctuary park after the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The 20 acre park will stand between Gorai and Borivali and is estimated to cost Rs 20 crores. It is expected to be opened to public, by Diwali 2021.

Gadkari further affirmed, Mumbai beaches can be cleaner than the beaches of Mauritius, as the city has the potential to become one of the primary tourist hubs of the country. He further said, Mumbai's suburbs have many unexplored spots including the backwaters, but said it is dependent on the authorities to open them to the public. He said more caution is needed and exploitation of mangroves need to be stopped.“The mangrove project initiative will boost tourism and economy undoubtedly, but what about the illegal encroachments that are increasingly destroying the mangrove belts?” questioned the union minister.

Citing example of his solid waste management in Nagpur and Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which set up a treatment plant for producing high quality water from the sewage water, he raised concern over the deteriorating water quality of the Arabian sea and the Mithi river. "If the Namami Gange project can cleanse the river Ganga, then there should be a similar drive to save the Arabian sea. The government needs to start cleaning the water bodies and use them as an alternative mode of transport, introducing water taxis, which is done in the city of Venice," said Gadkari. He said, this will also be will be environment-friendly, cheaper and will lessen the burden on suburban railways.

The union minister also showed concern to the increasing air pollution in Indian cities. He said, time has come for the authorities to introduce pollution management schemes. “The air quality of Delhi was worse by 31 per cent compared to Mumbai. We have now recovered by nearly 26 per cent due to the new pollution management schemes, which can be introduced in all our cities” he informed. He also promised a fund of Rs 100 crore for a project to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the Kora Bunder in Borivali.

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