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   Home >> Library index >> Slums >> Mumbai has no more room for guests: CM 
Mumbai has no more room for guests: CM 

Mumbai: “Mumbai no longer has any room for guests,’’ Maharashtra’s chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said in the state legislative assembly on Friday, adding that the city had witnessed a 36% rise in migrant population in the last 15 years. 
Deshmukh, who was recently forced to suspend his drive to demolish post-1995 slums at the intervention of the party high command, said, “We had to do so because of certain political compulsions. We were committed to our election pledge. But we can’t keep extending the cut-off year. We will have to draw a line somewhere.’’ 

The much-publicised ‘Operation Clearance’ was stopped after Mumbai Congress legislators pointed out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that the party was committed to extending the cut-off year for regularising illegal slums in the city to 2000. 
Deshmukh’s speech on Friday was a clever move to reiterate his autonomy as CEO of Maharashtra keen on Mumbai’s makeover as an international commercialtourist hub and a haven for global investors, said Vidhan Bhavan observers. 

Emphasising the need to preserve Mumbai’s already fragile balance betweenits population and the amenities available, Deshmukh called for “harsh decisions’’ in the larger interests of the city. “All these years, Mumbai has shared the burden (of a burgeoning population). But we can’t take it any more,’’ he said, pointing out that New Delhi has 137 vehicles per kilometre while Mumbai has 684. He said tax-payers in the city were paying for amenities which slumdwellers used for free. A staggering Rs 25,000 crore and a 500-acre plot would be needed to house the 2000-2005 slum dwellers, he said. 
The CM said people from elsewhere in the country were welcome in Mumbai, but they should not build slums. “There are 35,000 slums on water pipelines. Imagine what kind of water we Mumbaikars have to drink,’’ he said. Moreover, there were 60,000 slums on the footpaths, he said. 

Making a passionate plea to save Mumbai from the onslaught of “outsiders’’, he added, “Let us sink our political differences and spare a thought for this great city.’’ He was cheered by the entire House, including Congress MLAs from Mumbai. 
“Mumbai has fulfilled our aspirations. The metropolis has given us all that we asked for. Now, it’s pay-back time. It’s time to ask ourselves what we can do for Mumbai,’’ he said. 

Praising the Centre’s urban renewal scheme, Deshmukh said Maharashtra expected Rs 10,000 crore from the Union government for the city’s infrastructure development, for which a whopping Rs 36,000 was required. “The rest of the money can be raised by way of global tendering, BOT and publicprivate participation.’’ Deshmukh said the state expected to receive the Centre’s contribution in the next five years and added that the state would give a matching grant. “It’s for the first time that we are making such a massive provision for Mumbai city.’’ Stating that water transport would go a long way in easing Mumbai’s traffic problems, Deshmukh said Phase-I (6 km) of the Bandra-Worli sealink was likely to be completed in the next five years.