THE MAHARASHTRA government’s decision to add nine more civic wards in Mumbai will be implemented in the city’s western and eastern suburbs that comprise some 85% area under Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction, and where the population has risen substantially.
Earlier this week, the state cabinet decided to increase the electoral wards, also known as corporator wards, from 227 to 236. The decision came four months ahead of civic elections, due in February 2022. BMC data shows that the western suburbs (Bandra to Dahisar) have the highest number of 102 wards, followed by 69 in eastern suburbs (Kurla to Mulund) and 56 in island city (Colaba to Sion and Mahim). As per the census data of 2011, Mumbai has a population of 1.24 crore of which the population of island city was only 30.85 lakh compared to 93.56 lakh in the suburbs.
Moreover, for the first time, the island city recorded a drop of over 5.5% in population between 2001 and 2011 while suburbs saw an increase of 8% in the same period. Of the 483 sq km that falls under BMC, 411.12 sq km are in the suburbs, and only 72 sq km are in the island city.
While the latest census which was to be held in 2021 could not be conducted due to pandemic, the State Election Commission has said that the data of census 2011 will be used for election preparation for BMC polls.
“Western suburbs have seen an increase in population rapidly in the past few decades. The ratio of population per ward should be around 54,000. However, 10% deviation is allowed while redrawing the ward boundaries. From the proposed 9 new wards, the maximum will come up in western suburbs and then eastern suburbs. We will start work on reorganising wards once the ordinance is out,” said an official from BMC.
“There are 24 wards in Mumbai which will also go for bifurcation as many are huge and have become difficult to manage in terms of civic services. Wards like P-north (Malad), L (Kurla), K-east (Andheri east) are proposed to be bifurcated,” he added.