WITH the BJP making way for the Shiv Sena’s Vishwanath Mahadeshwar to become the next mayor of Mumbai, the three-time corporator from Santacruz Sunday said he had a plan chalked out for the next two-and-a-half years. Aiming to take on a proactive role as the city’s first citizen, the 56-year-old corporator, who is the principal of a school and junior college, said he wanted to focus on improving the condition of the civic-run schools and hospitals. Mahadeshwar said apart from his administrational duties, he would focus on reducing the high levels of air pollution in the city caused by the massive number of automobiles on the roads.
“Mumbai has had a long battle with increasing pollution due to traffic congestion at every major signal in the city. The administration has to be encouraged to implement measures to reduce air pollution levels,” he said. Ensuring that every resident of Mumbai has access to safe drinking water is another goal high on Mahadeshwar’s agenda, he said.
The Sena leader said in many BMC schools, students were unable to read or write.
“Since there is no examination till Class IX, students don’t take education seriously. This needs to change and every child should be able to read and write fluently. I will ensure there is more emphasis on the facilities being provided to secondary schools in the city too.”
Referring to the work he and his wife Pooja Mahadeshwar, the sitting corporator for ward 86 in Santacruz, have done at the V N Desai municipal hospital in Santacruz, such as setting up of a neo-natal intensive care unit, a trauma ward and a physiotherapy department, Mahadeshwar promised to improve the quality of medical services in all civic-run hospitals in the city.
When asked about the bitter relations between the Sena and the BJP in the run-up to the civic polls, the corporator said there was “very little” to worry about.
“As far as the general body is concerned, all processes will be done as per the act and I don’t think that it will be challenging. Besides, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already said on Saturday that the BJP would not take up the opposition’s role,” he said.
Mahadeshwar promised to ensure that the administration would execute projects and carry out inquiries in a timely manner.
“The administration should complete an enquiry within the stipulated time period and if elected, I will ensure that the civic body works in a time-bound manner,” he said.
Promising to live upto the expectations of the people, he said, “Expectations from a mayor keeps evolving and problems are endless. But we will ensure that at the end of our term, people don’t feel we haven’t worked to our potential. If there is a good proposal or if a notice of motion is beneficial for the Mumbaikars, it will be taken up in urgently,” he said.
In response to the petition filed by Congressman Dharmesh Vyas in the court of small causes opposing his selection as mayor, Mahadeshwar said the allegations were untrue.
“These allegations are wrong. I am a principal of a government-aided school and as teachers, we have the right to utilise the funds from grants. I have not violated any of the prescribed norms and I will respond to his allegations in court,” he said.
Vyas in his petition has stated that Mahadeshwar is ineligible to contest in the mayoral poll since he had suppressed information that he was drawing a salary from government grants as the principal of Raje Sambhaji Vidyalaya and Junior College in Santacruz. Mahadeshwar, who is still the principal of the school, added he was yet to decide if he would juggle the roles of mayor and principal or give up his current job.