Creating a single authority for Mumbai a top priority: Aaditya Thackeray

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Aaditya Thackeray. (HT)


MUMBAI :
Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday said creating a single authority for the financial capital is the top priority for the state government which will help “settle better accountability”.

Sixteen agencies, including the city civic body, agencies under the state government like MMRDA and Mhada for housing, and also some under the Central government like Airports Authority of India and Ports, run the financial capital at present, he said.

Explaining the rationale behind such proposition, Aaditya Thackeray, who is son of Sena president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said a single authority will help set better accountability by fixing responsibility on a single entity for all of the city’s requirements.

“What we are looking at now is to have a single authority in Mumbai, a single parent body that will run Mumbai,” Aaditya Thackeray said during a session with industry body CII, when asked about what is the top priority for the state government at present.

In the remarks, which come amid reports that Shiv Sena’s alliance partners in the state government are unhappy with such a move, Aaditya Thackeray said having such an authority is the “first thing” of focus.

The NCP and the Congress are ruling constituents in the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) currently controlled by the Shiv Sena had first made the suggestion of appointing itself as a single authority for the city. The Congress and NCP are reportedly peeved at the same.

“So, when we have a single point authority, you also have a single point responsibility. You can hold us to more accountability than ever before,” the tourism minister said, without mentioning MCGM as the chosen agency.

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Meanwhile, Aaditya Thackeray said it will take a lot of efforts to de-reserve the status granted to the over 800-acre green patch at Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon, and stressed that such a status is essential to protect the flora and fauna endemic to the site.

He said Maharashtra will focus on domestic tourists for the next two years as the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic will make foreign arrivals difficult.

The minister specifically mentioned a policy on beach tourism, ease of doing business initiatives for the sector and agri-tourism as focus areas, claiming that hotel properties in the Konkan belt and ones near Mumbai are having full occupancy right now.

Assuring the industry captains that the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will not “poke its nose” into affairs of industry, Aaditya Thackeray, who also handles the environment portfolio, said the board will sit together with the industries department to chart out policies.

He said work on 80 per cent of over 1.30 lakh crore of investment proposals for which Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) have been signed since June 2020 is underway, and advocated co-existence of industry which creates economic growth opportunities while taking care of the environment.

The financial capital is trailing Bengaluru and New Delhi when it comes to startups ecosystem because of the wrong policies in the three-four years, and the government wants to catch-up on the same, he said.

The state is still focused on the USD 1 trillion GSDP aspiration, Aaditya Thackeray said, choosing not to give a timeline by which it will be achieved.

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