While citizens of K West ward can take pride in their proactive approach on civic issues ranging from fighting for open spaces to giving the city its first-ever ‘citizens corporator’ in 2007, Andheri, Versova and Juhu are also known for some of the worst traffic congestion, encroachment on mangrove land and more.
One of the major issues in the ward is congestion on roads such as SV Road, JP Road, JVPD circle and others. While the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail corridor was made operational in 2014, corporators say the impact of its building remains. “Due to the pillars of the Metro, there is a huge traffic issue on the stretch from the junction of SV Road and JP Road towards the Azad Nagar Metro station. The MMRDA was supposed to widen the stretch but it didn’t do so. Since the road has narrowed and with shops on either side, many buses either have been stopped or their routes diverted,” says Sanjay Pawar, Shiv Sena corporator and president of K West Ward committee. Pawar, a corporator from Manish Nagar, says there is also a bottleneck on SV Road up to Jogeshwari.
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Mohsin Haider, a local Congress corporator, says redevelopment of Andheri market and amalgamating two or three plots for SRA construction could resolve the issue. “If it is amalgamated, then the road would be cleared without any cost,” says Haider, a corporator from the Andheri Market area.
Pawar adds that developing the DP roads — N Datta Road to Bhai Bharat Marg, New DN Nagar to Versova Link Road and others — to deal with the congestion on the arterial roads is now essential. “There are 13 such DP roads in my ward which needs to be developed,” he says. While a flyover has been proposed to resolve the traffic issue at the JVPD circle, the project hit a roadblock due to the proposed Metro route from DN Nagar to Dahisar.
Another major issue in K West Ward is the delayed redevelopment of around 100 old buildings. “The SRA schemes are being sold from one developer to another at higher rates. While the developers are making money through this, many people have been residing in transit camps for 10-15 years. There are around 26 such redevelopment proposals of SRA wherein no work has taken place on the ground,” Haider says.
Besides, Vile Parle, Andheri and Jogeshwari (West), the ward is also home to the posh areas of Juhu, Versova, Lokhandwala, filmstars and famous personalities. It is also a commercial hub for major offices and production houses.
In September last year, stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma courted controversy after he tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Twitter post claiming that a BMC official had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to permit the construction of his office. Subsequently, it was revealed that Sharma had allegedly destroyed mangroves while carrying out illegal extensions to his bungalow in Versova.
An inspection by the mangrove cell of the forest department showed that not only Sharma but 50 other bungalow owners, which include celebrities from Bollywood, had similarly destroyed mangroves in the area.
Ameet Satam, a BJP corporator and MLA from Andheri (West), says illegal hawkers is an issue in Andheri station area, JP Road and Juhu Church Road. “The illegal hawkers on the roads further worsen traffic during the peak hours. Continuous action is required to keep them off the roads,” says Satam.
While Congress corporator Jyotsna Dighe says a foot overbridge from Manekshaw Garden to Swami Samarth garden is required, Binita Vora, also a Congress corporator, says trenching on newly constructed roads must be stopped immediately.
Meanwhile, seven-eight residents’ groups have written to Satam recommending a candidate who the BJP could support for the BMC polls. “This is a result of my campaign called ‘Strengthen My Hands’ for the BMC polls. I have given these letters to the party’s election committee, which will take a call on it,” Satam said.
Of the 13 electoral wards in K West, five are from the Congress while four are from the Shiv Sena. Two are from BJP and the remaining two are independents. Despite the delimitation, the number of corporator wards has remained the same.
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