Mumbai: The expectations of Mumbaikars from the state budget were high considering the fact that the BMC elections are around the corner. Since the BJP is trying its best to secure a majority in the richest civic body, with a budget of over Rs52,000 crore, it was expected that Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would give special sops to Mumbaikars. However, there were no substantial announcements as far the metropolis was concerned.
Fadnavis only declared funding for ongoing infrastructural and other projects, with special emphasis on the Mumbai beautification programme. “Mumbai needs much more than cosmetic projects like the beautification scheme,” Jitendra Dagli, a Ghatkopar resident observed. In fact, several BJP members were surprised that there was no special consideration for the dream city despite the fact that preparations for the civic polls are fast underway.
About 820 public utility improvement works have been undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs1,729 crore. Of them, 121 works have been completed and the remaining ones are in progress. Fadnavis also announced in the budget speech that the work of 12.77-km-long Mumbai Metro line 11 – which connects Wadala to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus – would be completed at a cost of Rs8,739 crore.
Furthermore, Rs162.20 crore has been approved for the construction of jetty and other related facilities for water taxi service at the Radio Club near the Gateway of India. This will facilitate passenger transport from south Mumbai to Kalyan, Dombivli, Thane, Vasai creek and Navi Mumbai.
An outlay of Rs9,725 crore has been proposed under scheme expenditure for Urban Development Department, Rs3,746 crore for Transport and Ports Department and Rs1,310 crore for General Administration Department for 2023-24.
Former Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said, “This budget has not given anything to Mumbai citizens, not a single new scheme or policy has been announced for the city. All the Metro and road projects were already planned and announced by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government during its tenure. This shows the seriousness of the current Shinde-Fadnavis government with regards to Mumbai's development.”
Welcoming the budget, Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said, “Mumbai and state were looming under darkness, people were cribbing and complaining but now onwards there will be a new resolution of optimism. Mumbaikars will see the era of progress. This budget has opened doors for that new beginning.”
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