The Maharashtra government is taking its plans to transform Mumbai into a Shanghai to another level. So if you are in Mumbai, and you hang your clothes out of your balcony, or have not painted your building in years, you could now be asked to pay a fine.
In a move to make Mumbai into a world-class city, the Maharashtra cabinet passed a controversial proposal, pushed by the municipal corporation, that would give Mumbai a less shabby and a more aesthetic look.
“Mumbai’s skyline should look presentable. If someone doesn’t keep their building clean, the civic body will take appropriate action,” said Jairaj Pathak, commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The state made several amendments in civic laws. As per the new provisions of it, landlords and flat owners will have to ensure the walls of their buildings are well maintained. They will now have to paint their buildings every two years. The walls will have to be properly plastered as cracks and watermarks will not be tolerated.
The law also states that air conditioners, jutting out from buildings and loose cables are a strict no-no. And if one fails to make the changes in a month’s time, another penalty of two per cent interest on fine would come his way.
The new laws will first be implemented on the Queen’s Necklace, better known as Marine Drive where some of the city’s rich reside.
While many believe that this sets a precedent for good civic behaviour, others insist that in a city fighting for space, such laws are just not practical.
“It is not possible to paint buildings every two years. It is impractical as costs are very high,” said Anant Gadgil, an architect.
The government is intent on transforming Mumbai into a Shanghai. And to make India’s financial capital into an international city, civic authorities believe citizens will just have to clean up their act. The move has been welcomed but is also heading towards controversy.