Mumbai: “If the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claims that it killed nearly 11,52,115 rats over the last five years, then where did they bury them? If the BMC managed to kill these many rats, then how is it that the eyes and ears of patients admitted to BMC hospitals were being gnawed by rats?”, questioned BJP MLA Adv Ashish Shelar in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
Levelling serious allegations against the BMC administration, the Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit chief remarked, “You call yourself ‘tiger’, and still you are interested in gains from a petty creature like a ‘rat’?
Bombarding the civic administration with these and many other issues questioning the rampant corruption, nepotism of the incumbent ruling authorities in the BMC and Shelar also claimed that the people are tired of it and are wanting to get rid of it. Holding the existing rulers in the BMC responsible for the deaths of Mumbaikars over the last five years
The state government presented a motion under Rule 293 which was placed before the Legislative Assembly by MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar took the ruling BMC authorities, who have been in power for the last 25 years, to task.
“For the last 25 years, Mumbaikars have been experiencing the same old dynastic rule from the same family, the same set of contractors resulting in rising cases of corruption and malpractices. Mumbaikars want to get rid of it and are now raising their voices against it. Mumbaikars expect that the government, run by one family in the BMC, will undertake experimental and creative developmental activities and comprehensive works in the city”, remarked Shelar.
But unfortunately, they were grossly disappointed, stated MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar while expressing the pain of Mumbaikars. Despite paying all sorts of taxes, the basic demand of Mumbaikars – to receive safe drinking water and to have pothole-free roads, is not met. In the past 25 years, the same blacklisted contractors have been awarded contracts for different works in the city, they have ruined the city, BJP MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar made serious allegations.
In Mumbai, there are around 17,681 cessed buildings of which barely 13 – 13.5 percent buildings have been developed. At least one building collapses every monsoon, killing people residing in those buildings. Still, the BMC never considered working on an overall development project for these buildings. According to the old 1991 Development Plan, Mumbai was expected to be developed on a reserved plot of land as per the city development policy.
But according to information received under RTI, MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar lambasted the BMC authorities for its corrupt practices and said that barely 33.65 per cent development has been undertaken.
BJP MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar also raised questions on the BMC administration about whether the city’s health budget is in sync with the city’s population? The annual budget of the health department of the BMC for a population of 1.4 crore is around Rs 6,309 crore. According to this calculation, the BMC claims to have spent Rs 31,547 crore for Mumbaikars health issues in the last five years.
This has been spent on 56 lakh Mumbaikars which comes to around Rs 2.26 lakh per family. Still there is always a shortage of medicines and treatment materials in the hospitals. And hence the question, where has this Rs 31,547 crore being used, questioned MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar.
MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar also raised concern regarding the Rs 16,735 crore spent by the education department on 3.47 lakh students over the last five years. He said that despite budgetary allocations, many Marathi schools are being shut, the quality of education is deteriorating and the conditions in schools are worsening.
The Uddhav Thackeray government, during the Corona period, did not provide a single test to be carried out free for Mumbaikars. But instead, 50 per cent of the statutory income of the BMC through premium from big private developers was waived off. As a result, Rs 12,000 crore less was received by the BMC which could be used for the benefit of Mumbaikars. This is the reason for the serious environmental issue that has arisen in Mumbai today endangering lives of Mumbaikars, he pointed.
BJP MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar also criticised the Thackeray government for suspending the work of Metro despite the need to speed up the public transport system and instead putting Mumbaikars lives at risk.
Every year, the annual budget of the fire brigade in Mumbai is Rs 666 crore. Despite having spent over Rs 3,000 crore over the last five years, nearly 4,417 fire incidents have occurred in the calendar year from January 2022 to December 2022. Despite spending Rs 285 crore in five years for filling the potholes, Mumbaikars have not got justice and pothole-free roads. Reminding the death of Dr. Deepak Amrapurkar, MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar raised questions on the corrupt governance of the BMC.
Despite the BMC having a large army of rat exterminators, we never saw rat-killing activity being undertaken in any building ever. The BMC claims to kill 2,30,423 rats every year. Then accordingly, if 11,52,115 rats have been killed in 5 years, where were they buried? And when we raise questions about it, the authorities refrain from giving concrete answers, criticised BJP MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar. Since there has been a lot of corruption in this rat killing activity, the corporation must release a ‘white paper’ on this issue.
He also said that if the rats were killed, then how did the accident of a rat gnawing the ear of a Kurla resident Srinivas Yellappa, who was admitted to Rajawadi Hospital for liver treatment in 2017 happen. In a similar incident in 2018, eyes of 27-year-old youth, admitted to the ICU of Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Centre (HBTTC), was gnawed by rats. Citing these heart-breaking instances, BJP MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar alleged that the BMC authorities are responsible for deaths of Mumbaikars.