“I initiated the Navi Mumbai development plan in just one year”
Navi Mumbai is a city which is setting an example for the other cities in the country. All is possible because of the vision of Dr. Ramaswami N. the civic chief of the city who took charge as a Navi Mumbai Commissioner on 30th March 2017. He is a 2004 batch IAS officer and the successor of Navi Mumbai former Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe. He is masters in Veterinary Science and in the past he has worked as Chief Executive Officer of Jalgaon, Collector of Buldhana and Satara and Assistant Collector of Ratnagiri district. In a very short span of time his work speaks louder than his words. From the day he took charge as a civic body Commissioner he added many feathers in his hat. In a tete-e-tete with Newsband’s Senior Correspondent Abhitash D.Singh, Dr. Ramaswami N. speaks about his plans, vision and also his goal of improving health, education and technology in the city.
Talk us through your vision and plans for the development of Navi Mumbai.
Being a developed city, planned city we have lots of expectations and even people have lots of expectations. Our mission is sustainable and clean city. Navi Mumbai is already a smart city. There are many things which are needed. There are two kinds of things one is maintenance of existing infrastructure and giving good services and the other is creating quality infrastructure so these are the two main areas we are concentrating on, so in that there are many issues like city mobility plan that I have prepared considering that in future the traffic congestion. We have already started implementing the city mobility plan and many are into the pipeline. And apart from that our city was not even having the development plan and we were using the CIDCO development plan and now that is in the final stage. And also science centre will be coming up and it was sanctioned recently. CCTV coverage to be increased because existing CCTV is not enough we were having only 300 CCTV camera’s and now I have proposed additional 1200.
We are also coming up with many gardens with various themes. We are coming up with the first garden of its kind for the disabled people in Sanpada. And we have special programs for schools. This year I have implemented smart classrooms in all the 600 municipal classrooms. Again in health also we started CPS course. We also started PG course in our hospitals so that were will be good around 100 doctors in our hospital. Already we have 45 resident doctors and now we will be adding 50 plus more doctors in coming August. Means around 100 plus residents doctors in hospital and now we have recruited people also among other cadres and I will be issuing orders next week. I want to strengthen health, education and other basic infrastructure.
There are comparison between you and your predecessor Tukaram Mundhe on the basis of your working styles. Throw some light on this.
Everyone will have their own style and mode of getting the work done. I don’t want and also don’t like to be compared with anyone.
People in the vicinity have been demanding the Turbhe store FOB and a railway crossing gate at Juinagar. Till when can they expect this infrastructure in place?
In fact both have been sanctioned. Not only FOB in fact we have cancelled the foot over bridge of Turbhe and we have sanctioned rather flyover and that is already under tender process. Again in Juinagar we have sanctioned Railway over Bridge (ROB) at a cost of Rs.68 crores and it is also in tender process. Both will have bridge rather than foot over bridge which will be friendlier for the citizens.
You were in talks with the industry minister with regards to the MIDC land and have also approached the government to consider the civic body proposal to provide housing, while CIDCO can take a call on the same. What is the current status of that?
No final call has been taken on this issue. In fact I have written to them that either you redevelop it or you hand it over to NMMC so that we can make Navi Mumbai a slum free city. Because almost 19 percent of the Navi Mumbai population is in slum and mostly in MIDC area so I think department will take a call on it. Even I will keep pursuing the case with the MIDC CEO in the coming days.
While you were personally undertaking inspection in every place, from Digha village to Diwale, what is the current status of that?
Our entire team is working very hard on the “Swachhta Abhiyan” and it is not only for the ranking but we want to change culture of the city. If everyone is contributing then the city will remain clean. If you are not littering on the road than there is no need for sweeping every time. We have also established systems for monitoring all the activities. I have a WhatsApp group where I get around 300-400 pictures daily. Now we have come up with next concept of not only biometric attendance but we have come with the smart watches. All the 8700 people working with the NMMC will be given the watch especially to those who are working on the field. All the sweepers, gardeners and other employees will be monitored because it will be a GPS empowered because they have to work whole time and they will be monitored properly. It’s not only for monitoring the attendance but also to increase the productivity among employees. Already 50 watches have come and we already started implementing it and very soon all the watches will arrive. The overall budget for this watch for five years is Rs. 12 crore, but even if we save 50 absentees per year we will be able to recover that amount, it’s not only for that we want to give quality services to the citizens. We have also implemented the minimum wages act. We are paying decent amount of salary. We are giving Rs 21,000 monthly minimum salary for any employee.
The Navi Mumbai development plan has not been ready for the last 25 years. You are working on it. Comment.
It is ready now and it will be going in February’s month general body meeting for the notification and discussion. We were able to prepare the development plan in just one year period. All the other municipal corporation development plan was developed in period of two to three years.
BASF collaborated with NMMC on a water and sanitation project in Navi Mumbai in August last year. How has this collaboration benefited Navi Mumbaikars?
It was really good in fact we got new technology and drinking water for slums. The initiative is happening very well and the people are getting quality drinking water. And BASF as a company they are able to contribute to the CSR and new technology has to be explored for the development of any city. It is really a fruitful and good collaboration.
The NMMC e-toilets have been vandalized by the miscreants. Do you think posting a security guard outside the facility is enough or is there any other solutions that the civic body can come up with?
We have changed the pattern for maintenance now. This week only we will be receiving orders for the new contract. And as per the new contract it is all inclusive including the maintenance of the property, and also all the materials like exhaust fan and other utilities. It is a comprehensive tender. Earlier we use to pay Rs.250 per toilet per annum only to clean. Now we changed the pattern and now it is inclusive everything including mechanical cleaning and that too will be monitored through GPS mapping. They will be using their own vehicles and going to different toilets at different time. Standing already has passed and proposals and we will be waiting for the tenders. And we have also proposed for beautification outside the toilets. So our toilets facilities are best in comparison with other city. Also with the advertisements rights the company will have to take care and maintain. But even then there are few cases of vandalism because it is India and it happens here but slowly the things are changing for the better.
By when will all the municipal schools of Navi Mumbai be digitalised? And what step is civic body taking to ensure that the school uniforms are provided on time?
It has been already done and we are using also. In fact we have gone ahead and also started video conferencing facility and with common platforms you can address our schools directly through video. We have made all school Wi-Fi enabled and all our smart boards are interactive and we have made all the contents available. And in fact I have started English newspaper for 8th, 9th and 10thStandards and they are given newspapers every day. We have also set-up a computer lab. It is because I am very fond of educational things. We have also started two CBSE board schools in Koperkhairane and Nerul respectively. And till 31st January, 2019 we have received more than 1900 applications for the admissions. We are getting overwhelming demands from the parents and the schools are doing very good. And we are the first civic body to initiate it.
The municipal schools students don’t get the uniforms on time, Comment.
It was because of the policy issues. Last year deputy was there and again we were told to go for purchase. Now this year we have given the work order and now it will be supplied.
- My work should speak more than my words.
- NMMC is the first civic body which have made all the municipal schools Wifi enabled, smart boards interactive and with video conferencing facilities.
- Our entire team is working round the clock for “Swacchta Abhiyan” not just for the ranking but we want to change the culture of the city.
- We were able to prepare the Development Plan in just one year time.
- I have created a WhatsApp group where I get 300-400 pictures.
- We are giving Rs.21, 000 monthly incomes to all the employees of NMMC.
- All the 8700 people working with the NMMC will be given watches.