TOGETHERVCAN’S SOCIAL SANCHAR – ASHOKA FELLOWS CONNECT WITH DR. SANJAY MUKHERJEE IAS
Gateway of India
Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
On Thursday 2nd June 2016, V Citizens Actions Network held its third Social Sanchar of 2016 at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. The event saw Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Projects, MCGM, as the speaker.
Some of Mumbai’s biggest and most talked about infrastructure projects such as the Coastal Road, and the Goregaon Mulund Link Road, as well as vital Municipal Departments such as Sewerage, Dumping Grounds, and Water Supply, fall under his purview as the Additional Municipal Commissioner.
As part of a recurring theme, in addition to Dr. Mukherjee, the Sanchar also featured the ‘Ashoka Fellows Connect’, a unique joint-initiative with the Ashoka Organisation, a worldwide network dedicated to the support and encouragement of Social Entrepreneurs in countries all over the globe.
The Managing Trustee of VCAN, Mrs. Indrani Malkani, also an Ashoka Fellow, kicked off the evening with a Welcome Address where she briefed the audience about V Citizens Actions Network, and introduced the Ashoka Organisation as well the participating Ashoka Fellows, who in a change had gathered in Mumbai, rather than join in via videoconference. She then went on to explain the how the Social Sanchar would be conducted.
Mr. V. Ranganathan, a Trustee of VCAN, as well a distinguished bureaucrat, introduced Dr. Mukherjee, and spoke very highly of his talents and experience. He also outlined some key points about the topic at hand which he wanted Dr. Mukherjee to touch upon.
Dr. Mukherjee started off the session by first thanking the audience for making the time to join in even on a weekday afternoon. He also candidly admitted that his position covered several projects which drew a lot of public attention, both for and against.
He revealed that for perhaps the first time, Mumbai has fierce competition both in India and abroad. He said that rather than infrastructure and facilities, what made a city great was its citizens, and that what drew the best citizens was good educational institutions, good cultural outlets, and finally, a good infrastructure.
The audience, both those at the venue and those online, was then invited to ask questions.
In reply to a question on the British contribution to water supply and sewerage, he made a distinction between the favoured parts of the city dominated by Europeans, and the underdeveloped areas left for the Indians. He spoke about how we should be proud of the fact we had the largest hydraulic system in the world, and that the Water jurisdictions of Mumbai extended over five districts even as far as Nashik District. He conceded that while there was contamination at various points leading to individual households; up to the reservoirs the water quality was very good.
He revealed that the MCGM was working on a new project with the French to improve the water distribution network in the city.
On a question on Property Tax, Dr. Mukherjee outlined the differences between the old rateable value system and the new capital value system. He pointed out that the matter was pending in the court and that the MCGM had challenged the matter.
When asked about areas that the MCGM should pay particular attention to, he said that he felt that they had much work to do on every front including increasing efficiency and transparency, but that some of their Citizen Centric initiatives such as the Citizen Facilitation Centres had received global acclaim. He recounted how there was a shift from an approach based on technical standards towards an approach focused on deliverables.
He also clarified that Tankers supplying water in Mumbai received an official supply from the MCGM, and that private bore wells could also be used to fill them as well. He spoke about how for the first time in India, the MCGM successfully conducted a lake tapping operation to increase water supply using its own engineers.
On a particularly hot topic, the Aarey Milk Colony, he clarified that the much talked about Goregaon Mulund Link Road was now not going to pass through the Colony at all, and no cutting of trees on account of that would take place.
He reminded the audience that while they questioned the MCGM on various issues, they needed to take responsibility themselves for issues such as littering and illegal encroachments among others.
While there were some whose questions were unable to be answered during the event, they were assured that their questions were to be forwarded to Dr. Mukherjee, and that he and his office would go through them and reply via email. The guests present at the venue were invited to continue their interactions over the tea and refreshments provided by the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.
To view the photos of the event click here.
To view the video of the event click here.