Lok Satta

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 09:13

LSP opposes appointment of unelected bureaucrat as CEO of Mumbai, demands directly elected, empowered Mayor

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The Loksatta Party has welcomed the debate generated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s announcement that he will appoint a senior bureaucrat as ‘CEO’ to coordinate and fast-track development projects in Mumbai.

LSP state general secretary Rajeev D Pai said the party is strongly opposed to Fadnavis’s move and demanded a directly elected, fully empowered mayor who will have full control over all issues relating to the city’s governance.

He said that while the party welcomes the slew of new projects being announced almost daily by the chief minister for the city, a CEO is not the solution to the problems faced by locals. In fact, he said, the intention of the state seems to be to further tighten its grip on Mumbai’s local government and deny citizens the right to self-governance as envisaged by the 74th Amendment.

Pai said adding one more bureaucrat to the existing bureaucratic maze that has made a mess of the city will only be a further impediment to restoring Mumbai to its world city status. Even the system of Mayor-in-Council, which was experimented with in 1998, was a half-hearted solution and likely to fail if tried again.

“What Mumbai really needs is a directly elected, fully empowered mayor who is brought to power directly by the people who are affected by what happens in the city, a grassroots leader with the experience and understanding of handling the city’s problems,” Pai said. “This leader should be directly accountable to the citizens, as in other great cities of the world, thus enabling him/her to work without fear or favour.”

Fears expressed by some political parties that such moves are aimed at separating Mumbai from Maharashtra are baseless, he said. The people of the city are suffering from lack of accountability, poor co-ordination among various agencies and lack of leadership. They are looking forward to institutional reforms that will help improve the quality of their lives.

Loksatta Party, through its “Vote Mumbai” campaign, right from 2006 has been demanding a system of directly elected, fully empowered Mayor for Mumbai on par with the great cities of the world. As one of the members of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, its founder, Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, was instrumental in convincing other members to include this proposal in its 6th Report. The Union and state governments are not doing much even as citizens suffer on a daily basis due to a failure of local governance as they do not want to let go of cities that they consider cash cows.