Bungalows cry for space here,slums for water

From posh bungalows on Malabar Hill to cramped buildings on Grant Road,from sprawling slums in Tardeo to the beachfront of Marine Drive,and the quaint Khotachiwadi,D Ward is known to be the ward of contrasts.

Written by Dipti Sonawala | Mumbai | Published:February 10, 2012 3:30 am

From posh bungalows on Malabar Hill to cramped buildings on Grant Road,from sprawling slums in Tardeo to the beachfront of Marine Drive,and the quaint Khotachiwadi,D Ward is known to be the ward of contrasts.

D ward consists of three regions — western,eastern and central— and each region has its own specific problems. The western part of the ward covers Peddar Road,Napean Sea Road,Malabar Hill and parts of Tardeo,eastern part has Khetwadi,parts of Kamathipura and Grant Road and the central part consists of Kotachiwadi,Prarthana Samaj and parts of Girgaum. The ward is spread across an area of 8.03 sq km and has a population of 3.79 lakh.

This ward is also known as the VVIP area,with bungalows of the governor,chief minister,deputy chief minister and many others located here. Other than politicians,prominent personalities such as Mukesh Ambani and Lata Mangeshkar too live in this area. At the same time,D ward also houses slum settlements in Prem Nagar,Tulsiwadi,Janta Nagar,Jaiphal wadi as well as old crumbling chawls of Girgaum and Khetwadi. The problems faced by residents in this ward are also as diverse as the areas they live in. Areas such as Malabar Hill,Carmichael Road,Altamount Road and Girgaum,which are home to some of the richest and most influential people in Mumbai,continue to have bad roads and traffic snarls. For instance,many families in the area own more than one vehicle,which leaves very little or no space for parking.

“Among the elite,there are at least three vehicles per family. Many people end up parking their vehicles on the sides of the road. At many places,there are double parking. Use of public transport is minimal in these areas. Traffic snarls in the peak hours are very bad,” said Prateek Bandodkar,resident of Malabar Hill.

Residents often complain about the roads and footpaths being dug up for some civic work or the other,making the traffic problem even more acute. Komal Rajani,a resident of Napean Sea Road,complains,“Not only the roads,but even the footpaths are dug up and left broken every three months,leaving no space for the pedestrians to walk.” D Ward also faces the problem of highrises coming up along narrow roads which are unable to cater to the traffic flow in the area.

The one problem that affects both slumdwellers and the well-to-do in the ward is the water supply and drainage. The Tardeo slums and Kotachiwadi,a heritage area,are also plagued by water shortage. “At Kotachiwadi,we do not face any major civic issues though problem of water supply and water cut keeps bothering us after every six to seven months. Sometimes we even get dirty and foul smelling water,” said Diwakar Bhatkal,social activist and a local resident.

As far as cleanliness is concerned,D Ward,which is often referred to as the VVIP ward,is one of the cleanest and best-maintained areas in the city. Khotachiwadi’s residents are also angry with authorities for not cleaning the ‘house gullies’ citing that they are private properties. “They collect tax from us,but when it comes to cleaning the filth and garbage,the BMC authorities claim it is a private property and thus it is not their job. This beautiful area is also now strewn with loose tar,thanks to the haphazard nature of civic work,” added Bhatkal.

Other problems in the area include water logging every monsoon at Nana chowk,Sleater Road and on the tracks between Mumbai Central and Grant Road railway stations.

The ward is partly Congress and partly BJP dominated,as out of total seven seats,three are of Congress and three of BJP and the remaining one Shiv Sena. According to candidates,residents of these areas see profiles of the candidates and not necessarily political parties.

“In this area,people go for the profiles of candidates and see how actively the candidate is involved in the welfare of the area rather than following political parties. The voters are not fools,they know what they want and will vote for candidates who are genuine,” said former Congress corporator Shantaram Brid.

This time Brid is contesting from Tardeo area as an Independent candidate.

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