Thane: Poor infrastructure, super-rich netas

Mumbai: Thane has come a long way to be now ruled by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena. The humongous Thane district comprises of three parliamentary constituencies, mainly Thane, Kalyan and Bhiwandi, each having six Assembly seats.

All the six seats of Thane have a different geography, diverse demography and a complex set of problems, ranging from overburdened public transport, poor public healthcare. In addition it has high number of unapproved colleges, encroachment of forests and mangroves, rampant, illegal construction and sand-mining, which has led to extensive industrial pollution. Living in Thane is no more affordable with the mounting property prices.

However, the one thing that Thane can boast of is, its super rich netas. The combined wealth of the 12 major candidates in six constituencies, is over Rs 380 crore, according to the affidavits filed with their nomination forms.

Pratap Sarnaik- sitting Sena Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Ovala Majiwada, is the richest among all. With stakes in real estate and hospitality sectors, Sarnaik and his corporator wife own assets (movable and immovable) worth Rs 230 crore.

Sarnaik is followed by BJP’s sitting MLA, Narendra Mehta with Rs 62 crore worth assets along with his wife and dependent children. He is pitted against Muzaffar Hussain of Congress, from at Meera-Bhayander. Hussain has Rs 31 crore assets along with wife.

Manda Mhatre, the sitting BJP MLA from Belapur, with her husband, has assets worth Rs 25 crore. Her opponent Ashok Gawde of NCP owns 1/5th of what Mhatres have.

Sena minister Eknath Shinde (Kopri-Panchpakhadi) and BJP candidates Ganesh Naik (Airoli) and Sanjay Kelkar (Thane city) have assets in the range of Rs 4-12 crore.

“While netas are busy accumulating wealth by grabbing land, getting into real estate business and infrastructure projects, Thane sweats out to keep pace with the rising population despite being in the list of smart cities,” said senior journalist, Santosh Pradhan.

Thane was ranked at 57 in the Central government’s ranking of 100 smart cities for speedy implementation of projects.

Ambitious projects, such as cluster development of slums and a Rs 9,000 crore tunnel connecting Sanjay Gandhi National Park to Thane and Borivali which was announced four years ago, are still stuck.

“The facilities at the two public hospitals in Thane and Kalwa are poorly equipped to handle serious cases which are often referred to Mumbai hospitals. Eknath Shinde has failed to upgrade them despite being the health minister. What's worse is, Sena is in power from corporation to the Centre,” rues a resident, Milind Gaikwad.

Ovla Majiwada Seat

Pratap Sarnaik (Shivsena)

Assets including spouse: Rs 230 crore

Vikrant Chavan (Congress)

Assets: Rs1.24 crore

Mira Bhayandar Seat

Narendra Mehta (BJP, sitting MLA)

Assets (including spouse, children): Rs 62 crore

Muzaffar Hussain (Congress, former MLA)

Assets (including spouse, children): ~Rs31 crore

Thane City Seat

Sanjay Kelkar (BJP, sitting MLA)

Assets including spouse’s: ~Rs4.6 crore

Suhas Desai (NCP)

Assets including spouse: Rs7.6 lakh

Kopri Panchpakhadi Seat

Eknath Shinde (Shivsena, sitting MLA)

Assets, including spouse: Rs12 crore

Sanjay Ghadigaonkar (Congress)

Assets: Rs1 crore

Airoli seat

Ganesh Naik (BJP)

Assets including spouse’s: ~Rs8 crore

Ganesh Shinde (NCP)

Assets: ~Rs13 lakh

Belapur seat

Manda Mhratre (BJP)

Assets including spouse’s: ~ Rs25 Crore

Ashok Gawde (NCP)

Assets including spouse’s: ~Rs5.2 crore

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