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Friday, December 26, 2008


From Constructing Dams To Building A Wax Museum On The Lines of London's Madame Tussauds, The BMC's Projects—If Implemented Diligently—Will Change The Face Of Mumbai

Sharad Vyas | TNN

The coffers of the country's richest municipal corporation may not exactly be swelling in the wake of the economic crisis, but despite setbacks, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to embark on some of its most ambitious initiatives in the coming year. From laying the foundation stone of the state's biggest and tallest dam to constructing a wax museum, on the lines of London's Madame Tussauds, on the anvil are projects which, if implemented diligently, will change the face of the city.
According to officials, the focus is on upgrading infrastructure and, at the same time, providing improved civic services to citizens. Come January you will be able to log on to a citizens'
portal and assess your property tax, obtain birth and death certificates, etc. For those who don't have access to the Internet, the reach of the civic Citizen Facilitation Centres (CFCs) will be extended to 90-odd Sify cyber cafes. Bill payments, including water charges, will also be made easier: an SMS to 57575 with details of your bill number will initiate the process.
    "With minimal expenditure, these simple steps will help citizens save on time, as they will no longer be required to run from one civic office to another to secure different permits, licences, certificates or to make bill payments,'' said V Radha, joint municipal commissioner.
    There's good news for vendors, too. From 2009, the BMC will also stagger its licencing system over three months, and provide an allin-one licence to vendors. At the moment, vendors have to queue up at the end of year to re
new or obtain multiple licenses, such as, a permit from the health department and trade licence in order to conduct business. "With the all-in-one licensing system, and staggering that over three months, this is set to change,'' said Radha.
The BMC is also thinking big in its infrastructure projects. It will be ushering in major multi-million infrastructure projects of water supply, sewerage and storm water drains, and so on.
Cynics, however, may raise an eyebrow or two, as collections from the BMC's two major sources of revenue—octroi and property tax—are plummeting. While the former's growth rate has dropped to around 15% from last year's 21%, collection from the latter has almost come to a standstill with a slump in the property market. But officials are confident that the pace of the projects will not slow down.
Funds are likely to flow under the Centre's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM): alre a dy, work is underway on three major projects, including the Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project, Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project II and Brimstowad, which promises to augment the city's storm water drains. "The focus next year will be on these three important projects. Even though these are expected to run into 2011, we don't want to relax and slow their growth. More pipelines will be laid, and shafts will be constructed to lift water from Middle Vaitarna. All this will gain more momentum next year,'' municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak told TOI.
Report card for 2008
Closure of the 25 hectare Gorai dumping ground at the cost of Rs 50 crore Introduction of smart cards for vehicle owners at five octroi nakas Measures were implemented to ensure that no flooding occurred in low-lying areas like Juhu Sterilisation of 13,152 strays Removal of 800 unauthorised structures as part of Brimstowad Collection a premium of Rs 74 crore on the additional .33 FSI on construction projects 119 owners of unauthorised hoardings were served with notices Under a BMC drive, 13,300 shop owners were prosecuted for not putting up Marathi name-boards

What the BMC has in mind for 2009
Expect better water supply under the Middle Vaitarana Water Supply Project. Costing over Rs 1,600 crore , major work will include the construction of a tunnel from Malabar Hill to Cross Maidan and a 500m dam on the Vaitarna River With the aim of upgrading the city's sewage system, several priority works are in the pipeline, such as the development of new pumping stations and treatment plants under the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) II Several areas will get relief from floods as parts of Brimstowad projects will be implemented next year. A new reservoir at Worli—budgeted at Rs25 crore —will provide water to areas in Prabhadevi and Worli Citizens will be able to visit local Sify centres and log online to pay taxes, obtain certificates, etc An SMS to 57575 with your bill number will be enough to make payment. However, citizens will have to register for an ITZ card pre-paid card to avail of this facility. Vendors will no longer have to obtain separate licences to conduct business Major concretisation (CC) and asphalt works will be completed next year. In the Western and Eastern suburbs, 22- 24 roads will be concretised. Another 90-odd roads will be paved with asphalt. In the city, seven CC and 60 asphalt road projects will be taken up in South Mumbai


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