In preparation for the polls next year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has begun the preliminary physical survey of all its 24 municipal wards. Senior officials of the election department said the existing ward boundaries are being verified by the BMC, following which a detailed report will be shared with the election commission.
Officials said Mumbai’s geography and demography has changed since the last civic election, with new slums and flyovers mushrooming and dilapidated buildings being demolished. New eco-sensitive zones have also led to populations being relocated.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said basic information will be ready in the next 15 days. He said in the first phase, data focusing on identifying the present population strength of each ward will be prepared. A few of the key factors being checked include the number of residential buildings and slum areas that have come up recently and also the number of dilapidated buildings that have been demolished in the past five years.
Kakani said, “The data will give us an idea on whether the boundaries of wards need to be redrawn. Our primary focus is to collect basic information and submit it to the election commission in the next 15 days, following which the call may be taken,” he said.
Another official said, “The census has been delayed due to the pandemic, which is why we are surveying ward boundaries. We want to make sure that the population density based on area is maintained in a uniform manner in each and every ward for fair elections.”
He said many new flyovers have also come up in many places, and new areas in the city have been marked as eco-sensitive zones, with populations being relocated. “It’s therefore important for us to take a holistic look at the city,” the official added.
Earlier this year, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the BMC Ravi Raja had demanded that boundaries of all municipal wards be redrawn in a fresh manner, while the BJP had written to the EC opposing the move.