Estranged allies – the Shiv Sena and the BJP – on Thursday were engaged in a war of words over the ongoing pre-monsoon work conducted by the BMC and other agencies in the city. The suburban district guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray listed out a slew of works being carried out and said that the focus has been laid by all agencies to avoid waterlogging, potholes and casualties due to landslides.
Nearly 30,000 houses are being built to relocate residents from sites of possible landslides. Aaditya said Mumbai may face extreme monsoon but the administration is fully prepared. “If Mumbai witnesses over 200 mm of rain in a day, any city, not just Mumbai, will see floods,” he noted.
On the other hand, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar likened the figures provided by the BMC administration of pre-monsoon work to filmmaker Ratan Khatri’s numbers; he was reportedly involved with the city's matka business. “Despite being in power for 25 long years, if they (Shiv Sena) cannot guarantee security, Aaditya Thackeray must apologise to Mumbaikars,” he said.
Aaditya retorted, “I do not pay attention to the critics. I don’t want to answer them. Criticism, accusations are made. If they (Ashish Shelar) have some good ideas and if they give us suggestions, we will definitely consider them.” He added that more funds had been approved for the PWD and the assistant commissioners were hitting ground zero to take stock of the situation and instructions had been given to finish the work on time. He said that the city is preparing for monsoons in advance to get in control of the situation. The BMC and National Disaster Response Force teams have been directed to be in coordination.
Aaditya said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had directed the BMC to complete all pre-monsoon work, like cleaning of drains, to avoid outbreak of any contagious disease, amid growing concerns over the alarming coronavirus situation.
However, Shelar claimed that the BMC authorities are absconding, leaving Mumbaikars to fend for themselves and barely 35 per cent of the nullah cleanliness work has been done. “This monsoon, neither Mumbaikars nor their property will be safe and only the BMC administration and the ruling Shiv Sena are responsible for this mess,” he said.
Shelar also tore into the CM and said, “Last month, the held meetings with BMC officers. Why has the planning not been done? Now, when the monsoon is about to arrive, guardian ministers are running everywhere.” He also pointed out that tree trimming hasn’t been completed yet.
Demanding that Aaditya should leave meetings in five-star hotels, Shelar said, “Why don’t you come on road, if you claim ownership of Mumbai.”