‘E’ for encroachment

Gautam S Mengle finds almost all pavements in the ward comprising Byculla have huts,those that do not need repair

Written by Express News Service | Published: July 23, 2013 12:39 am

The 7.4-square-km E Ward between Wadi Bunder Road,Sane Guruji Marg and Dattaram Lad Marg houses 4,13,662 people,making it one of more congested in Mumbai.

Mostly comprising Byculla,the area has many commercial establishments that attract a large number of visitors every day,adding to the congestion.

Encroachments and badly laid pavements make it a nightmare for visitors and residents alike.

Almost all pavements along the 37 major and 137 minor roads in the area have been encroachment upon.

On some pavements there are makeshift huts while others have families living under the open sky.

Stretches that have escaped encroachment are in need of repair.

“The pavements are always in a bad condition,most of them are occupied. BMC keeps conducting eviction drives but the pavement dwellers keep returning,” said Neelesh Babar,a Byculla resident.

A resident near Nair Hospital said,“Several paver blocks in pavements around our building have come off. Roads are no better. Even if there is little rain,roads around Mumbai Central and Maratha Mandir flood causing traffic jams and chaos.”

E Ward has 11 flooding-prone spots. A large portion of corporator and ward committee funds is used to repair pavements and roads. The eight corporators in the ward get Rs 1 crore each (Rs 60 lakh corporator fund and Rs 40 lakh ward committee fund).

In the 2012-2013 fiscal,around Rs 3.5 crore of the Rs 4.8 crore corporator fund and Rs 3.1 crore of the Rs 3.2 crore committee fund was spent.

“Funds are allotted around two months before rains and we immediately use a substantial amount to repair roads. In my area,there is a court,hospital and several schools,and roads have to be in good condition.

“I have been raising the issue of pavements for a long time. The concept of paver blocks should be scrapped and an alternative found. Paver blocks are not durable and start coming off within a month of installation,” said Dockyard-Mazagon corporator Yamini Jadhav.

Corporator Ramakant Rahate said drives to demolish slums on pavements in India United Mills area were a temporary solution.

“I have asked BMC to post security guards along roads where the problem is severe,to ensure pavement dwellers do not return. A lot of pavements in my area were repaired this year. Money was also spent on restoring gardens and cleaning water tanks,” he said.

E Ward has 81.89 km of drains and two minor nullahs.

Around Jijamata Udyan,most funds were spent on repairing drains.

“Silt was gathering in most of the drains,clogging them. We dug up the drains and increased their slope to prevent silt accumulation,” said corporator Samita Naik.

The road leading to the cremation ground in the area was once dimly-lit. Quality streetlights were installed after several complaints.

Another crucial concern in E Ward is the high number of dilapidated buildings. Of the 959 such buildings on BMC list,90 (second-most) are here.

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