09 March, 2021

Watered Down Civics

Too many agencies, a state govt in a mood to centralise weaken BMC

Watered Down Civics

“Who’s in charge of the roads in Mumbai?” It was an innocuous question from the middle-aged Los Angeles-based Jonathan Barzilay on his first visit to the megapolis he had heard so much about. The question was prompted earlier this week after Barzilay, director of the Ford Foundation’s freedom of expression wing, negotiated a 15-minute drive from the tony Bandra-Kurla complex to the office of the foundation’s grantee, Partners in Urban Knowledge Action & Research (PUKAR), a group that works on issues of health and redevelopment in Mumbai.

It’s a difficult question to answer, even for a pucca Mumbaikar. In his 15-minute ride, Barzilay commuted on roads managed by three different agencies. Roads across the city, totalling some 2,000 km, are owned and managed by a fair number of agencies: the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the state government-run Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Maharashtra Industrial...

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