Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CM’s panel on Mithi has not met in 32 months: RTI

The Hindu: Mumbai: Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
The Mithi River Development and Protection Authority (MRDPA), chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, as well as its high-powered committee headed by the chief secretary, has not met even once in the last 32 months, data released under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed.
The MRDPA was constituted in the wake of the July 26, 2005, deluge in Mumbai. Several people had died and hundreds of crores worth of property was damaged that day. Following the losses, the State government set up the MRDPA to develop and regulate the Mithi river and Vakola nullah, two key water bodies that carry rain water into the Arabian sea.
Social activist Anil Galgali, who had posed the question under the RTI Act, told The Hindu , “The Maharashtra government has admitted that no meeting was convened either by the Fadnavis-headed 21-member MRDPA committee nor the chief secretary-headed high powered 11-member committee in the last 32 months. The data reveals that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority were the designated planning authorities for the two segments that comprise the Mithi river and Vakola nullah. While these bodies have spent over Rs. 1,400 crore in works for the Mithi river, the work is less than satisfactory. Now the monsoons are upon us.”
Predecessors at fault too
Mr. Galgali added that not only Mr. Fadnavis, but his predecessors Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, too, failed to convene meetings on this issue.
According to information provided to Mr. Galgali in 2016 by the deputy planner and public information officer of the MRDPA, Shivraj Pawar, the body was established on August 19, 2005, and the chief ministers were designated as its chairpersons. In the last decade, six meetings were held: two in 2005, and one each in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.
Similarly, the high-powered committee headed by the State chief secretary has met only 11 times since its inception. One meeting was held each in 2005 and 2012. Two meetings were held in 2006 and 2008, while five were held in 2013.