Friday, Dec 19, 2014

‘All Cong has succeeded in doing is make Mumbai the most expensive city to live in’

BJP city president Ashish Shelar (left) and Congress city president Janardan Chandurkar. (Vasant Prabhu) BJP city president Ashish Shelar (left) and Congress city president Janardan Chandurkar. (Vasant Prabhu)
Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Posted: March 20, 2014 12:40 am | Updated: March 20, 2014 6:39 am

Shubhangi Khapre: When you go out for campaigning, how will you convince people to vote for you?
Chandurkar: Firstly, I am confident that Congress will retain all the five MP seats that it won in Mumbai in 2009. Congress has done a number of landmark things over the past five years to change the face of Mumbai. Metro rail, monorail, Sahar elevated road and Eastern Freeway are some of the major achievements of Congress in Mumbai.
Shelar: The projects listed by Mr Chandurkar are driven by benefit to the contractor. Have they helped in resolving Mumbai’s traffic congestion or make commuting easier? The average travelling time is constantly on the rise. These projects have also taken a long time to be completed, resulting in high cost escalation. The Congress-NCP combine has done these works in a piecemeal manner and for their political benefit, not for the benefit of the city. All it has succeeded in doing is to making Mumbai the most expensive city to live in. The monorail has never been a commercially viable project and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has admitted that the government will have to levy a betterment charge or betterment tax on Mumbaikars to recover this cost.

Sandeep Ashar: What is BJP’s model of development? How differently will you do things in Mumbai to make it more livable?
Shelar: We want to give a human-face time-bound development model for the city which will save money and give services faster, without delays.

Mayura Janwalkar: Mumbai’s image of being a safe city for women took a hit last year. How do both alliances plan to change that?
Chandurkar: Women’s safety is of prime importance and the government needs to do everything it  can to stop crimes against women. But even as much needs to be done by the government, the society’s mindset needs to change too. In Mumbai Congress, we regularly take training sessions for women and sensitise youth.
Shelar: Women’s safety does not have to do only with policing. Urgent police and judicial reforms are needed not only in terms of law but also in the approach of policemen and lawyers towards cases of crime against women. The current prosecution mechanism is lagging where those guilty are not being punished. Till this is changed, crimes against women will not come down.

Zeeshan Shaikh: Gopinath Munde has promised a toll-free Maharashtra. How do you plan to make Mumbai toll-free? How do you plan to construct roads if you are to abolish toll?
Shelar: BJP is not of the opinion that toll is not necessary in the economic model. We are saying that the Congress-NCP government has tolled roads where it is not needed. As a party having made the promise of toll-free Maharashtra, we will identify sources from which we can raise money to build roads. Having said continued…

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