New Delhi: Mumbai has to be “decongested” as it doesn’t have the capacity to hold the number of people coming into the city, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said Monday at the digital version of ThePrint’s Off The Cuff.
In conversation with ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Gadkari also suggested “decongestion” of other metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai.
“Mumbai is surrounded by the sea from all three sides which is why it has to be decongested,” Gadkari said in response to a question on what advice he had for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra government.
“We have to think differently now since the policies in place aren’t going to work anymore,” he added.
Asked about Mumbai’s slum Dharavi, Gadkari said, “There is a big scheduled caste community called Charmakars residing in Dharavi. They work on leather products and make shoes and bags. I told their association that they should come to the Thane district, near Delhi-Mumbai Highway instead. I told them I’ll give them space to make a cluster and kick start an industry.”
The minister also said these clusters must be well connected to the airport and the railway lines. He added that industries setting up in backward areas must get more incentives – this should be a revised policy.
“If you want a sustainable lifestyle, then ecology and environment both must be good,” he said.
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‘Not the time for politics’
During the conversation, the Union minister was asked if Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was doing a good job during the pandemic. To this, Nitin Gadkari replied, “This is not the time for politics.”
The BJP leader from Maharashtra said everyone must rise above caste, creed, religion and party to fight the crisis at hand right now. Once the battle against Covid-19 is over, then it can become a matter worthy of discussion.
He added that he is also constantly in conversation with the CM Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, the leader of the state’s ruling coalition partner Nationalist Congress Party.
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