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What the mayors of Asian cities want

November 27, 2006 11:28 IST

At over 6 feet, with a lithe athletic body, Moshe Sinai, Mayor of Israel's Rosh Ha'ayin, stands out in the crowd of mayors who are in Dehradun foe the first ever Asian Mayor's Conference.

One look at him and you are convinced that he would have been associated with the Israeli army at some point of time.

"Yes, I have served as an army officer in various capacities, including some time in the security division," Colonel Sinai, who was elected mayor three years ago, says.

"Since my municipality is merely two kilometers away from the border with Palestine, a large chunk of our expenditure go into dealing with the security of my people. I have raised an army of over one thousand volunteers who patrol the city 24/7 so that the rest of the city can carry on with business," says the man who has installed hidden cameras in key positions to keep an eye on troublemakers the deadly suicide bombers sneaking into his city.

Like other mayors, Sinai is also concerned about raising funds to meet the growing requirements of spending on civic amenities and other essential things to improve the quality of life of his citizens.

"You cannot depend upon the government all the time as we are engaged in fighting terror. Hence I have to look for raising resources elsewhere. My city is divided into two parts -- the old and the new.

"We have no problem with the infrastructure, but if I do something for those living in the old city the citizens living in the new areas allege that they are being neglected. I have come here to share my experiences and adopt any solutions that may fit into our case," he says.

Onkar Singh in Dehradun