The election manifesto of the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance released on Thursday is replete with ambitious promises,many of them repeated from five years ago and clubbed with a few odd ones,such as building a snow park and instituting Mumbai Ratna awards.
While a majority of the promises,such as completion of major water projects,concretisation of major roads,planting trees,equipping schools with computer laboratories,were made ahead of the 2007 elections,the same plans have been reintroduced without concrete deadlines.
While announcing the manifesto,which promises safe,healthy,clean and beautiful Mumbai,Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said: Our top priority is redevelopment of old buildings,increasing water supply and replacing water pipelines. We will also plan to improve the condition of BDD chawls,which the state government has not focused on. He added,These are not empty promises as we will form a committee to ensure that they are put into action.
As against a 24-hour water supply promise in 2007,Shiv Sena has now promised to address water shortage by completing major water projects like Middle Vaitarna,Gargai and Pinjal to generate 1,780 million litres daily over the next five years.
After receiving flak for the pathetic roads,Shiv Sena has repeated its promise of concretisation of all major roads in the next five years and added that it will build all major city roads in best quality. The Sena was slammed for awarding road contracts to the same set of contractors that did not maintain the roads as per norms and has now promised to conduct third party quality audits of roads periodically,an idea first mooted by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
While the earlier manifesto had promised subways at major cross junctions of the city,the party wants to construct 14 flyovers in the suburbs,including the ongoing work of Jogeshwari and Goregaon flyovers,to address the problem of traffic congestion.
Though the Sena has been staunch in its opposition to abolition of octroi (BMCs largest money spinner),it has softened its stand in the joint manifesto by saying that if the government offers a better alternative to earn revenue,they are willing to abolish it. Senas alliance partner BJP has been demanding that octroi be abolished.
About the much-delayed BRIMSTOWAD project,which was aimed at overhauling the stormwater drain connectivity in the city,Sena has promised to complete the project by 2013. There is also a plan to form a separate authority to monitor the cleaning and widening of the five rivers flowing through the city.
While the Congress-NCP manifesto once again promised to regularise slums till 2000,the Sena remained silent over the issue. The manifesto stated that project affected people of BMC works with a 15-year domicile will be provided free homes or compensation according to ready reckoner rates.
Taking on the state government,Sena announced that audits will be conducted of houses and commercial complexes built by the government or under the SRA and the party would initiate action against errant developers.
To upgrade its disaster management unit,Sena promised to open a Tsunami Alert Training Centre in Mumbai and a disaster management institute. There are plans to build shelter homes in low-lying areas,such as Koliwadas,in case of cyclones and earthquakes.
The manifesto also promises to introduce stricter norms for the construction industry to make the city dust-free.
While the Congress-NCP manifesto promised a zoo in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park,Sena-BJP said it will complete the much-delayed revamp plan for the Byculla Zoo and promised to bring in penguin enclosures and exotic flora and fauna.