Will NMMC Mayor continue his protest against CIDCO's housing project in Navi Mumbai?

Recently, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) Mayor Jaywant Sutar wrote a letter to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis explaining his opposition against the housing project by CIDCO. However since he has transferred to BJP, will the protest continue?

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As part of Maharashtra Chief Minister's dream project, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had announced the construction of 90,000 flats in Navi Mumbai that aimed to increase the residential options in the town. However, to everyone's surprise, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) Mayor Jaywant Sutar expressed his opposition towards the project in a letter written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week. 

The letter had raised doubts regarding this project ever taking off given the open opposition from the NMMC Mayor. The mayor had cited that he was opposing the project because as per him it would put a strain on Navi Mumbai's current water supply amongst its other infrastructure options.

However, the thing that one has to know in this case is that the mayor was earlier a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member has now joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This raises the question of whether the protest against the housing project will continue or not.

The CIDCO-NMMC tussle

To understand the entire episode, it is vital to understand the history of the town. In order to conduct the planning for Navi Mumbai, the state government had appointed CIDCO as the developmental organisation in 1971. CIDCO had prepared its planning with an assumption that the town will be home to around 20 lakh people and therefore, a plan for 344 sq. km was drawn by the state organisation.

However, in 1992, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation was founded and as per the notification issued in 1991, the municipal corporation had control over 30 villages with an area of 109.3 sq. km. In 2008, the state government announced that the developmental rights for Navi Mumbai too would fall within NMMC's jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the population estimate by CIDCO, i.e. two lakh citizens, exceeded tremendously as the city's various sectors, railway stations, bus stations, depots, and truck terminals were used by more than 15 lakh people. Along with this, the city posed at a parking crisis as the number of vehicles in the city had risen exponentially.

Therefore, in order to avoid congestion in Navi Mumbai and resolve the issue of lack of resources, Mayor Sutar wrote to Maharashtra CM explaining the situation.

In his letter, Sutar stated that a piece of land in Kalamboli has been reserved for constructing bus stop by the municipal corporation but as per the housing project plan, CIDCO wants to build flats at the disputed land. He added that if the open area comes under NMMC, then why has CIDCO decided to build the houses there.

Interestingly, on Wednesday, Jaywant Sutar along with Ganesh Naik and other prominent NCP leaders transferred to BJP which is the Fadnavis' party. Therefore,  this question amongst the people that after becoming a BJP member, will Sutar continue his protest against the Chief Minister's dream project? 

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