The BJP Tuesday promised not to hike property and water tax for the next five years to provide relief to Mumbaikars if voted to power. The party manifesto also exempted Mumbaikars from paying road tax till it gets rid of potholes. The annual increase in water tariff works to 8 per cent and the property tax between 10 and 15 per cent.
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Promising sweeping reforms to usher in transparency in the functioning of the BMC, the BJP declared that all policy and project decisions for Mumbai would be henceforth taken in civic body headquarters in South Mumbai and not from the Shiv Sena president’s residence Matoshree in Bandra.
The party announced appointment of upa-lokayukta “to end corruption in the BMC”.
Besides promising to break the existing “contractors’ cartel” and investigating the Rs 20,000-crore projects between the BMC and private players, the BJP poll manifesto listed reforms where infrastructure projects would be handed over to “credible and renowned contractors on deferred payments”.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who unveiled the 20-page manifesto designed in the form of an affidavit on a stamp paper making a pledge to the people of Mumbai, said, “In BMC, the issue is not about how to use funds but how well it can be utilised to provide basic civic amenities which is Mumbaikar’s right. We promise transparency in the working of BMC and development of Mumbai.”
The manifesto also declared the party’s intent to include a chapter of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in all BMC-run schools to tell the children how Maharashtra was created. With the move, BJP seems to be looking to score a point as its ally-turned rival Shiv Sena has often raked this up in elections to gain mileage.
Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said, “We are making it mandatory for all BMC corporators, officials and contractors to submit their annual balance sheet. The Right to Service Act will be extended to BMC.”
Asserting that Mumbai would become pothole-free in five years if BJP was voted to power, Shelar said, “The tax terrorism of Sena government in the BMC would be uprooted.”
The manifesto said treatment of seweage water would be compulsory and also voiced Mumbaikars’ concern for open space. The seashore beautification and 2lakh tree plantation drive constitute other important promises.