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Friday, May 13, 2022

Aaditya Thackeray: Mumbai may get single planning authority in a year, to be headed by mayor

“There are 16 planning agencies and 43 utilities in Mumbai. Even constructing a footpath is a challenge. A single planning authority can address these issues. It is likely to be set up in a year,” Aaditya Thackeray added.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: May 13, 2022 7:54:31 am
Aaditya Thackeray at the conference in Mumbai on Thursday. (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday said that the state government was working on a plan to ensure that a single planning authority governs Mumbai in a year, to be headed by the mayor, who would be given enhanced administrative powers.

He was speaking at the international conference on ‘Climate Crisis 2.0 – Mobilizing Finance for Coastal Cities’, in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the state government and not-for-profit organisation Mumbai First.

Thackeray said, “There are multiple agencies in Mumbai and having a single planning authority for better implementation of projects is crucial. For that (planning authority), we don’t need a CEO but an empowered mayor. That will be better because a mayor will be more democratic. That is something we are working on.”

“There are 16 planning agencies and 43 utilities in Mumbai. Even constructing a footpath is a challenge. A single planning authority can address these issues. It is likely to be set up in a year,” he added.

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Apart from the BMC, Mumbai has planning agencies such as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Railways and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, which implement various infrastructure projects.

There has been a long standing demand that a single entity plans, governs and implements infrastructure projects in the city to ensure their effective implementation.

This is not the first time the need of empowering the mayor has come up. In 2018, a committee set up by then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to prepare a report on empowerment of urban local bodies had also recommended that the mayor be given more power by introducing the “mayor-in-council” system on the lines of the United States.

At the event, Thackeray also spoke about climate change. “If there is rainfall of more than 70 mm in an hour, the city will face waterlogging at some locations. But in case of rainfall over 250 mm, no drainage system in coastal cities can handle it. There will be flooding so we can work on improving the drain capacity to ensure that water recedes faster. We need to work on adaptation and mitigation measures,” he said.

Thackeray added India is vulnerable to climate change and considering the challenges, Maharashtra is preparing a climate action plan for 43 cities focusing on ‘Race to Zero’. He also said that India needs a national council on climate change on the lines of the GST council. “We have proposed the National Council of Climate Change… the issue of climate change is no longer limited to the environment department but all need to be involved,” he said.

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