MLA Ameet Satam, 39, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, spoke to iamin about the achievements and struggles of the past year, as well as his hopes for the future.
What were your biggest achievements of 2015?
We have flouted a tender for the decongestion of Andheri Station along with one for the conservation of Gilbert Hill that was pending for three years before this. We have also appointed the Dutch multinational public company FUGRO to study the structural stability of the hill and suggest remedies to protect it. We are currently awaiting funds for the Gilbert Hill Project.
Nana Nani park in Versova was redeveloped, along with a public ground in Amboli that was lying neglected. The Kaifi Azmi Park in Juhu is currently being revamped and work should be completed by early 2016. In the last year we have also managed to construct five 5-star-toilets in slum areas in my constitutency and work on three others are in progress. We also aim to make the Koliwada end of Juhu and Versova Beach open defecation-free within the next two months.
Any other project in the pipeline that we can look forward to?
Focusing on the youth, we are planning on coming out with a ‘Mumbai Selfie Point’ in Juhu, which will serve as a landmark in the island city.
What were your achievements as a corporator, before you became MLA?
As a corporator, I was able to bring about a lot of changes. We built the first vertical garden in Mumbai as a tribute to late BJP MP Gopinath Munde near Irla Nullah. We also initiated the advanced street light project, which included led trees along Juhu Scheme. All these were completed in two and half years, which is why the ALM’s demanded that I should be given candidature for BJP.
Illegal hawkers have always been a constant nuisance in Juhu. What solution have you come up with regarding this?
Illegal hawkers are a problem across the city and not only in Juhu. Our primary step to stop encroachment is by preventing people from living on the footpaths. I would say our success rate in doing this has been 50% as we have not been able to completely eliminate settlements on footpaths or under flyovers. But, we have managed to curb it by carrying out frequent inspections.
Any plans in the field of Education?
I have already written to the CM and state education minister to introduce a subject called ‘Citizen Science’ in all schools, starting form standard one, till the degree level. Through this subject, students will be taught community living, Swacch Bharat ethics and at a degree level, it should touch issues surrounding law and order. Marks for the subject should be counted during the 10th and 12th standard board exams as well. This is about creating a new generation and imbibing the social values and morals at a very young age. We are hell bent on creating more IAS officers, doctors, engineer, but we forget that we need to focus on creating a value-based education system.
What was the toughest struggle in 2015?
If I had to pick one, it would be our efforts of removing illegal encroachments and maintaining the law and order in the constituency. Several times I have ventured out late at night, just to review the security situation and whether there are miscreants creating trouble anywhere.
How important are ALM’s in an area like Andheri? Are there any early plans for 2016?
There are 18 ALM’s in the Andheri West Assembly constituency and I am working closely with all of them. We have accomplished a great deal in the last one year. We demolished 150 illegal shanties at Versova beach and are planning to begin a water sports facility. The revamping of Juhu Beach is in progress. We are also redeveloping three gardens around the beach, which is our second project. The funds for this have already been sanctioned, with work due to start in Jan 2016.