Mangaluru, February 3, 2018: Come March, Mangaluru will have a new Mayor. Political activities have already picked up in the ruling Congress camp. There is more enthusiasm this time as the two posts of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are reserved for the general category making all the 35 ruling party corporators eligible. Sources reveal several corporators are in the race.
But, who will replace the incumbent Mayor Kavitha Sanil who is considered one the most dynamic and pro-active Mayor which Mangaluru has ever seen ? She is a Mayor who is always in action, always there whenever the citizens needed her. She has been able to do what her other predecessors could not. Maintain a good rapport with the people, by making phone-in programmes a regular feature to be in touch with the masses and hear their grievances. Though there is a grouse that nothing much happens after the phone-ins, the fact that some sincere effort is made to solve the problems cannot be denied.
She has already made it clear that there would be no politics as far as development is concerned. In a latest warning, she has said all encroachments of parking spaces will be cleared without any fear or favour.
When Kavitha Sanil took charge last March she faced a litmus test as the city was then on the brink of a water scarcity. Wasting no time, she had resorted to water rationing, a measure which was criticized by many. Several even pointed out that the Mayor was creating artificial water scarcity. Not the one who gets bogged down, she went ahead and ensured the city did not face water scarcity . Nonetheless even rain God came to the help with the inflow into Netravathi increasing as days passed by.
This year, the Mayor has ensured that water is stored upto a height of six meters for the very first time, since the new dam was constructed. A welcome development at a time when Mangalureans were just beginning to worry. Though much was talked about storing water upto a height of six meters even last year, nothing much had happened. Despite the compensation issue remaining, the authorities have made arrangements to pay ground rent for the people of three villages whose land would be submerged.
Nonetheless, there have been some drawbacks, for example the effort made to have a separate vending zone to end the menace of street vendors in some of the busiest areas of Mangaluru, proved to be a futile exercise despite consistent efforts as the vendors say the place lacked basic amenities. There is a need for some concerted effort to persuade the vendors to shift to the vending zone by providing the required amenities. The Mayor needs to give attention to this issue.
Yet another issue was the raids on massage parlours and skill games centres conducted by the Mayor last year. It was a bold move by the Mayor after she herself revealed that the act followed a complaint by an aggrieved mother who narrated how her son wasted money at skill games centre. Notwithstandingly after one of the owners of a spa which was raided moved court, the MCC was instructed to verify facts before embarking on raids. Though this was indeed a dampener, Mayor Kavitha Sanil has taken it in the right spirit.
Whatever may be the shortcomings, the Mayor has made Mangalureans feel she is there for them whenever they are in some problem.
Of course, she has proved her Karate skills, and none other than the CM had a word of praise for her saying she is an inspiration for girls to learn Karate.
Whoever is elected as the next Mayor will have the great responsibility of carrying out the good work of his or her predecessor. The final year of the five year term of the Congress will be very crucial for the party as the performance during this term will ultimately decide the fate of the party in the next civic elections.
A Smart City in the making, Mangaluru needs a Smart and dynamic leader, which the present incumbent Kavitha Sanil no doubt is. The ardent hope is that her successor would be equally competent who would make Mangaluru a true Smart City.