Unable to adopt areas in the urban region, even if they were gaothans or koliwadas, the six Mumbai MPs have chosen villages in Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Konkan to develop under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet model village scheme.
Soon after Modi had announced the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana during his Independence Day speech under which every parliamentarian is to adopt one village, these MPs were initially at a loss on its implementation with their constituencies being completely urban. Mumbai has a heritage of 189 gaothans and 32 koliwadas. However, here the MPs said, the biggest issue is redevelopment.
Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale, MP from Mumbai South Central, said, “I was thinking of adopting one of the 12 gaothans and koliwadas in my constituency, but areas under municipal limits did not qualify for the scheme. Then, I thought I will adopt a village from Pune district since my native place is also in that district, but that village didn’t qualify as per guidelines. Then the government machinery itself asked me to select a village either from Dahanu or Thane.” Shewale has adopted the Gungwada Gram Panchayat in Dahanu falling in the Thane district.
He said he has approached researchers from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to help him with innovative technical solutions to address the issues there.
Gopal Shetty, BJP MP for Mumbai North, has chosen Gorhe village in the neighbouring Palghar district. However, he is yet to visit the village. “I had proposed two other villages in Vasai, but they didn’t fit into the norms, hence the district collector suggested I take up Gorhe village. I will visit the village once the Parliament session is over,” Shetty said.
Poonam Mahajan, BJP MP for Mumbai North Central, has also chosen a village in the Palghar district, Charoti in Dahanu.
Kirit Somaiya, BJP MP from Mumbai North East, was earlier looking to adhere to the prime minister’s directive by creating a model slum in Mumbai, regarding slums as the urban equivalent of villages. Before the scheme’s final guidelines were published, on October 11, Somaiya declared on Twitter about his intention to adopt Bhandup Gaon.
“However, the final guidelines insisted that urban MP s should take up a village outside their constituencies. Within the neighbouring districts, other parliamentarians had already chosen villages from Palghar so I decided to adopt a village from Raigad,” Somaiya said. The MP has appointed a team to study the problems in Chinchoti village in Alibaug sub-district and come out with a detailed report of problems that need to be addressed within a month.
After being told that he will not be able to choose a gaothan such as Worli gaon or Mazgaon from his own constituency, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant from Mumbai South had set his sights on his native village in the Konkan region. “There is a major water crisis in my own village. But, the rules prohibit us from selecting our own village for the scheme, so I selected a neighbouring village where the problem is just as acute. My priority is to make water available by executing works such as construction of check dams and minor irrigation works,” said Sawant, who has adopted Harkulkhurd in the Kankavli sub-district in Sindhudurg.
Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar, MP from Mumbai North West, has also picked a village from Konkan, Asud in the Ratnagiri district, and has planned an inauguration in January. Kirtikar has identified water scarcity, especially for the acres and acres of betel nut gardens in Asud, lack of pucca roads and improvements to the schools and primary healthcare centres there as the priority areas for work.