Stresses on Ease of Living
Sees Day After Tommorow Today 
Calls for Stepping up SWM, Pedestrianism and Urban Forestry

Vashi, Navi Mumbai: Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s minister for environment, tourism and protocol and guardian minister of Mumbai, stressed on incorporating elements of Ease of Living in the planning of cities and towns, initiating steps for Solid Waste Management, Pedestrianism and Traffic Management and Planned Ruralization and Urban Forestry. 

He was presenting the inaugural address at the 68th National Town and Country Planners Congress at the auditorium in the CIDCO Exhibition Centre, here on January 11, after releasing a souvenir, commemorating the event. He later inaugurated the exhibition organized at the venue for the 2-days convention on the theme ‘National Missions: Spatial Planning and Implementation Initiatives’. 

At the outset, he congratulated the Maharashtra Regional Chapter (Mumbai) of the Institute of Town Planners, India for their golden jubilee year. 
Aaditya Thackeray’s grandiloquence, yet grounded, oratory and professional passion for delivering to people what they deserve by right was in full throttle and lucidly evident in his extempore address to the 600 plus delegates from the town planning and architecture fraternity. 

He commended the fraternity for their contribution in making ‘ease of living’ possible in cities and towns, as life coaches advice to live. Stating that the subject of town planning is very close to his heart and urbanization is not a dreaded exercise anymore, Aaditya informed that ‘we are all in a turning point in history where urbanization is rapid and planning cities is not about shifting development zones, but about planning for the environment and for the people’. 

Referring to the loss of a billion animal lives in the ongoing bush fires of Australia, the looming war in the Middle East and coastal cities on the brink of extinction all over the globe due to climate change, Aaditya, the youngest minister in the State cabinet, remarked that the catastrophe, that he saw a hundred years later after watching the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ when he was in the X Std. in 2004-05, was almost at the door step today in 2019 itself. 
He expressed that environment is no more merely about flora and fauna, it is about what is around us with which we should have conversations and interactions and planners should consider behavioral patterns of the community around. 

As a nation with one sixth of the population on the planet, he pointed out that we have to consider and talk about the planet. He cited cases of the Mumbai municipal corporation’s efforts to enhance the Storm Water Drains’ capacities over the last decade and his personal initiative in enforcing the ban on one time-use plastics.

Aaditya Thackeray suggested steps to manage solid waste and traffic in urban areas and mooted pedestrianism, for which  5 experimental streets have been taken up which will be extended to 50 streets soon, from where one can walk to work, school, parks, markets, health centers, etc. He further suggested planning for rural areas too and urban forestry. He informed that the Miyawaki method would be adopted for urban forestry and 4 lakh trees would be planted in the coming 3 months on  66 unused plots in Mumbai.
Calling for wider attention to sustainable goals, he extracted a promise from the town planning body to start their next school of planning and architecture in Maharashtra State.

Aaditya put the onus of guiding the young law makers like him in the country on the experienced members of the town planning and architecture fraternity, on a daily basis with their inspiring views to achieve better ranking in the liveable index.

Aaditya Thackeray’s eloquent and touching speech with a definite and relevant message, keeping the professional audience constantly engaged with his passion to deliver what is expected of him, presented with clarity and citing practical cases combined with his charismatic personality made a very positive impression in the august audience. 

Earlier, in his presidential address, Prof. D. S. Meshram, president of the Institute of Town Planners,  India, stated that the nation was in a Mission mode with all ministries launching various mission projects like JNNURM, Smart City Mission,  Amrut Yojana etc. He emphasized that the impact of these missions will depend on their implementation. He announced that the recommendations coming out in the convention will be circulated to the Union government and all State governments. 

Jitendra L. Bhople, chairman of Maharashtra Regional Chapter (Mumbai) proposed the vote of thanks and mentioned that the minister’s portfolio – Environment and Tourism were closely linked to town planning and Aditya Thackeray had so effectively set the ball, of the convention’s theme, rolling through his inaugural address. Bhople referred to Prof. D. S. Meshram as the ‘Father of Indian Town Planners’. 

Pradeep Kapoor, secretary general, ITPI delivered the welcome address and Milind P. Patil, vice president, ITPI, read out the messages from the vice president of India, the governor of Maharashtra and other 7 dignitaries.