Thane’s growth story lacks desired milestones
Water scarcity is now fast-approaching Navi Mumbai despite a separate dam
The Thane Lok Sabha constituency — comprising of three major civic bodies namely Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayander — has been in the limelight for various commercial developmental projects including office towers, shopping complexes, and entertainment facilities et cetera. But issues directly affecting the public discourse like unemployment, inadequate transport infrastructure, traffic congestion, water scarcity, rising slums, and increasing population may continue to pose challenges. One of the reasons behind the same is the shut down of labour intensive manufacturing and engineering industries of their inability to keep pace with a rise in population.
Even as the services sector including retail, housing and hospitality have developed in
Thane — a region with a population of 22 lakh — job creation for both, skilled and unskilled manpower will be an issue that will have to be effectively addressed to by elected representatives and the party in power.
In terms of housing, despite witnessing a slew of housing projects, affordable homes is a distant dream for Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayander residents; the much-debated cluster development projects, too, are moving at a snail’s pace.
Even as Shiv Sena MP from the constituency, Rajan Vichare has made tall claims of having given a boost to development projects, the party faces a huge challenge if it decides to go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Shiv Sena and Vichare plan to reach out to voters on the development plank and are aiming to reap the benefits of a strong organisational network.
However, the BJP is disappointed with Vichare’s performance and wants to do away with his inaction by selling an alternate growth plan to the voters in case an alliance does not work out. Similarly, the NCP, which had won the seat in the 2009 election, proposes to expose the Shiv Sena’’s nonperformance. But it will have to strive in order to stage a comeback due to weak organisation.
While on one hand, Vichare, in his self-defence, claims he carried out over 250 projects in multiple sectors including transport, public health, water, education by mobilising adequate funds through his corpus and concerned departments. On the other hand, other parties and Thanekars have a different version to share; little has been done, they say, to decongest traffic, control pollution, burgeoning water scarcity, ageing infrastructure and growth of slums.
BJP legislator Sanjay Kelkar says Vichare’s inaction and ineffective performance in the past five years cannot be overlooked. “Thane needs a separate dam to meet its rising demand for water. But no progress has been made on this front. It was due to the BJP-led government in the state and the Centre that Thane city and other segments are witnessing implementation of transport infrastructure projects including metro, rail overbridge and logistic parks,’’ Kelkar said.
Kelkar’s view is critical in the light of the Bombay high court’s recent scathing remark saying that water shortage will soon make Thane the next Marathwada, a water deficit region. Water scarcity is a fastapproaching problem for Navi Mumbai too despite its own irrigation dam; the primary reason is a spur in realty development.
Full report: www.dnaindia.com