Mumbai: BJP's Ashish Shelar demands probe into city’s deteriorating AQI to fix accountability on errant officers

Mumbai: BJP's Ashish Shelar demands probe into city’s deteriorating AQI to fix accountability on errant officers

BMC must draw a roadmap to make Mumbai carbon neutral city by 2035, said BJP leader Ashish Shelar

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 12:37 PM IST
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BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar | Photo: ANI

Mumbai: Amid deteriorating Mumbai’s Air Quality Index especially during the winter, the Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar has urged the Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to set up an enquiry and fix accountability on errant officers. He also blamed the Uddhav Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi for Mumbai’s AQI dipping from ‘’poor’’ to ‘’very poor.’’

Shelar blames previous government for deteriorating AQI of city

‘’According to the environment experts, the financial concessions provided to the real estate sector during the tenure of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government have led to the uncontrolled rise in construction projects being undertaken simultaneously across the city. Also, the building proposal and environment department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not pay any attention to the environmental hazards that all these construction activities would pose on the air quality of Mumbai,’’ said Shelar.

Shelar claimed that Mumbai’s air quality has dipped to unhealthy levels saying that experts have observed that more than 50 per cent of this pollution is due to the sudden surge of construction activities, increased vehicular emissions and changes in wind speed this winter. ‘’And hence, the government needs to intervene and take immediate measures to prevent the further deterioration,’’ he added.

'Holistic approach is needed to tackle the pollution crisis across Mumbai,' said Shelar

‘’Nearly, 1,500 redevelopment and construction projects are being carried out across Mumbai. Holistic approach is needed to tackle the pollution crisis across Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Unfortunately, the BMC’s environment control cell has been found lacking in this regard,” said Shelar.

Shelar has said that the state government should initiate strict measures to resolve the pollution crisis.  ‘’Like the NCR, the government of Maharashtra must also form a Commission for Air Quality Management headed by the MMRDA to monitor the pollution levels and also to formulate a graded response action plan to tackle the pollution levels in Mumbai and the adjoining MMR. The BMC must set up the long pending construction and debris recycling facility and also mandate the construction sector across the MMR to abide by the pollution control norms. This must be made compulsory for the Municipalities in the MMR as well,’’he said.

Illegal waste disposal and vehicle scrap industry must be stopped suggested Shelar

Burning of dry waste and illegal burning of waste materials must be stopped. Illegal furnaces to extract metals must be immediately stopped in Malwani, Jogeshwari and Behrampada areas. Also, the illegal waste disposal and vehicle scrap industry working in CST, Santacruz and Kurla must be immediately stopped. Bakeries, illegal farsan factories and other eateries in the entire MMR using wood and coal must be asked to shift to using CNG or PNG. The BMC must allocate Rs 100 crore to help them fund this transition through a soft loan repayable over 7 years. All crematoriums in Mumbai must be shifted to electric or PNG fired furnaces.

Shelar suggested that BMC must fund the development of a green public transport system in Mumbai. The BEST must be directed to shift to 100 per cent electric vehicles over the next 18 months on wet-lease basis so that there is no financial burden on either the BEST or Mumbaikars. BMC must also create a green transport fund of Rs 500 crore to fund low interest loans through banks or NBFCs to encourage rickshaw and taxi drivers to move to electric vehicles. This will not be a subsidy but a low interest (3% p.a) of the vehicle loan.

'BMC must draw a roadmap to make Mumbai carbon neutral city by 2035,' said BJP leader Ashish Shelar

A committee must be set up by the BMC to draw a roadmap to make Mumbai a carbon neutral city by 2035. It must be noted that the NMMC is already working in this direction.The BMC must also get a scientific study done by IITians to determine and establish construction density threshold activity that can be permitted per sq km to curb uncontrolled construction activities across the city. The construction sites must be made to implement dust mitigation measures by imposing huge fines. It is sad that even in my constituency, there is zero adherence to dust mitigation measures.

‘’If all the government agencies team up and work towards this common cause, it will address Mumbai’s rising pollution crisis and will make our city once again a better place to live in,” said Mr Ashish Shelar.

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