Being the mayor of Mumbai, Sunil Prabhu took stock of all the issues concerning the capital city, held meetings with government agencies and led delegations. He was also well aware of all the problems plaguing his own electorate back in Dindoshi, he said, but being a corporator, Prabhu was unable to address most as they were state government subjects.
After Sunday, Prabhu, who is now an MLA, plans to tackle these predicaments head on. Of Mumbai’s 36 MLAs, five are sitting corporators — Ameet Satam, Manisha Chaudhari and Tamil Selvan of the BJP, and Prabhu and Ashok Patil of the Shiv Sena. Tired of negotiating within the limits of their positions, some are now prioritising issues concerning state government departments such as urban development, housing and tourism.
“In Kurar for instance, there are many slums, but no slum redevelopment scheme has been undertaken there because the land is a ‘No Development Zone.’ The first thing I will try as an MLA is to push for a change in reservation for the plot and get rehabilitation schemes under way. There is also the issue of encroachment on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park plot that I can now directly address. I had written to various government departments to address these issues, but my attempts were in vain. Now, I have the right to take up these issues,” said Prabhu, a Shiv Sena leader who wrested the Dindoshi constituency from Congress’ Rajhans Singh.
Likewise, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ameet Satam, who is now an MLA from Andheri West, has summarised a long list of tasks he has set for himself as part of ‘Smart Andheri.’ But, among the various issues of traffic, law and order and safety, Satam, who claimed the constituency from Congress’ Ashok Jadhav, is strongly pushing for the restoration of Gilbert Hill and transforming it into an attractive tourist destination from the drab, unkempt structure that it is today.
Gilbert Hill, a listed heritage structure, is a 61-metre tall monolithic column of black basalt rock and is said to be created out of molten lava that was squeezed out of the earth’s clefts during the Mesozoic era. However, it is at present flanked by haphazard construction and encroachments.
“The structure will collapse some day. The encroachment should be cleared, reckless construction should be stopped and the spot should be developed as a tourist destination. I had tried as a corporator. I wrote to the municipal commissioner but the letter kept doing the rounds between the corporation, Slum Rehabilitation Authority and urban development department,” said Satam, a management consultant who was once an assistant to senior BJP leader late Gopinath Munde. At the corporation level, he had lost in 2007 to Adolf D’Souza, the city’s first citizens’ candidate, before being elected to the civic body in 2012.
BJP’s Tamil Selvan, a Sion corporator who won from Sion-Koliwada by defeating Congress’ Jagannath Shetty, also said he could now move on to larger issues as the MLA of the area from his earlier focus of playgrounds and roads. “I can allocate funds towards constructing flyovers and ensuring better education in the area,’’ he said.
Healthcare tops to-do list of first-time MLAs
By: Ruhi Bhasin
Mumbai: The lack of basic health facilities in many constituencies have prompted Mumbai’s first time MLAs to name construction of hospitals as a priority issue.
For Ajay Choudhari, a first-time MLA of Shiv Sena from Shivadi, the fact that the nearest large public hospital, King Edward Memorial Hospital in Parel, is half-an-hour away for people living in the Mumbai Port Trust area, is irksome.
“This area came up a long time ago but lacks health facilities. This is going to be a focus area for me. The nearest hospital is KEM, which is half-an-hour away. This should not be the case. I want to change this. Another issue plaguing the area is that around 30,000-metric tonne waste is dumped here daily. I have been trying to get it removed for a while but agencies don’t do the needful, claiming that more slums would come up in the area. Also, slum redevelopment is another area, which will be taken up on a priority basis along with construction of more toilets,’’ said Choudhari.
For Tamil Selvan, the only Tamilian in the new Maharahstra Assembly who was elected from Sion Koliwada, there is a shortage of basic healthcare in his constituency. “Patients have to wait for long at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital. Just one hospital cannot cater to the needs of the entire population of the area. I especially want to reduce this wait for heart patients by creating the required infrastructure,’’ he said. Known as ‘Captain’ among his supporters, Selvan is a BJP corporator.
Sunil Raut, Shiv Sena MLA from Vikhroli, said, “The Bhandup-Kanjurmarg area needs good health facilities. The existing healthcare facility is not enough to cater to the requirements of this area, which had over two lakh registered voters.” Similarly, Bharati Lavekar, BJP MLA from Versova, also spoke of the requirement of more hospitals in the area, while emphasising the need for more toilets in slums and markets.