Make Mumbai a separate province : Lee Kuan Yew

Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan’s proposal to separate Mumbai from the rest of the state finds an echo in none other than the first prime minister of Singapore.Lee Kuan Yew, currently Singapore’s minister mentor, said Mumbai could never become anything close to his country until it was made a separate state. “If Mumbai has to become like Singapore it must become a separate province/state. It is what China has done to develop its cities — made them separate provinces dealing directly with Beijing,” said Lee.Speaking at an interactive session with Pravasiya Bharatiya Diwas delegates in the New Delhi, the veteran leader said, “I had a meeting with Deputy CM R R Patil on how to turn Mumbai into Singapore during my visit to Mumbai 18 months ago. At the time I found the airport not up to international standards. The approach road to the airport was also terrible.” He added, “I asked the Deputy CM ‘who controls Mumbai?’. He told me the city was under Maharashtra. I told him if Mumbai has to become Singapore, it has to become a state, a province. The Deputy CM replied that Maharashtra cannot afford to lose Mumbai as its revenue comes from the city.”The 85-year-old founding father of Singapore said there could be no hope for developing Mumbai into a financial capital on par with Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong or London till the city becomes a separate province.Lee also flayed India’s obsession with villages. “India must stop romanticising rural life. I celebrated when we demolished the last village in 1980. Singapore imports food grain, China annually moves 10 lakh people to urban areas.” To buttress his argument, he pointed out how ancient culture and civilisation in Greece and Rome flourished in cities. “Developed India is urban India, and given the present circumstances, I don’t see India being a leading global power,” Yew said, answering a question on India’s prospect of being a leader. Appreciating India’s liberal democracy, Yew said the Government along with the Opposition would have to take decisions together.Goh Chok Tong, who succeeded Yew as prime minister, said coalition politics and state Central development meant that reforms would not be easy in India. There was a need to change the red-tape mindset of the Indian bureaucracy.Tong said agricultural reforms and improvement in education were the key challenges before India. “With better infrastructure and improved connectivity, the economy will be on a much stronger footing,” he added.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Then why separate Mumbai only. why not Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune. These cities must also become world class cities.

Lee Kuan Yew might have said the right thing for developing Mumbai. But similar justice should be made in case of other cities too. Moreover he only told abt developing Mumbai & not India. Singapore & India are far different. Singapore is small country while India is huge country with huge population.