I have kept MMRDA and MMRC on their toes, says Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar

Vishwanath Pandurang Mahadeshwar is in a tearing hurry. With the monsoon set to arrive in Mumbai soon, the city Mayor is going hammer and tongs to put together various limbs of the civic administration in order to ensure that Mumbaikars don’t have to experience another floods and city roads are free of potholes. The First Citizen of Mumbai gives his first monsoon interview to Akash Sakaria.  Excerpts:

There is a widespread feeling among Mumbaikars of lack of coordination between BMC, MMRDA and MMRC. What do you have to say on this?

My comment on blaming state government in case of floods in the city due to construction works has made the development authority chiefs install pumps and start taking action. This was the whole purpose of my snub. I have kept MMRDA and MMRC on their toes to ensure there are no problems to Mumbaikars in monsoon.

But then, what about the Metro construction being carried out in the city?

Oh! The Metro construction has been a curse until now for the city. Thousands of trees have been lost in the process; the transplantation was totally a hoax. They look like nothing but stumps installed in the ground; not even 10 per cent of the trees have survived. Each and every tree is important in a city like Mumbai. We will make sure they don’t trouble the city any further during the monsoon.

Mumbaikars are not convinced that the city won’t witness floods once again. Why is that?

Well, people have voted us for fifth consecutive time. It is convincing enough that we are their choice. But yes, since many years Mumbaikars have faced problems as far as monsoon is concerned. It is now time to ensure people that slowly and gradually, we will find a solution to it. We will have to live by people’s trust in us.

After all the measures taken, whom do you think the citizens should blame if there are floods in the city?

Then, we are all responsible for it. If rainfall is below 300 mm, then we are all ready for it; there will be no floods. But if it increases beyond that, and if there is high tide, then ours is an island city surrounded by water. You cannot really help it. But we will definitely take immediate action even during desperate times.

There are two aspects of monsoon. One is flooding and other is potholes. There have been cases where people have died because of that. What special measures have you planned to avoid past blunders?

We would not call it blunders but we have decided to take measures for the same. The BMC has made special cold mix to fill potholes and the same has been tried and tested.

How is the Maharashtra government sympathetic and responsive to BMC’s monsoon problems?

There is no need to ask or seek sympathy from anyone. The corporation is capable and competent enough to tackle its issues.

How hopeful are you that Mumbaikars will not witness water in potholes, or in their eyes?

Good joke! (Chuckles)


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