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Local Lens

Starting today,we take a closer look at problems residents of various wards have been facing and civic efforts,if any,to address the issues

Written by Express News Service | Published:May 30, 2013 2:15 am

For gutter or worse

Over the past two years,residents of areas near Khar (west) railway station have been plagued with sewage water seeping into their ground floor homes. Unbridled construction in the area and the rising number of restaurants in the upscale suburban locality has increased pressure on drains and sewerage lines,resulting in reverse flow into their flats.

“We have to deal with reverse flow of sewage water every 15 days or so. BMC officials said since the area I live in is low-lying,it cannot be helped. We have been living here for long; it’s only in the past two years that we have faced this problem. The storm water drains outside are clogged with stones and other construction material,which will make matters worse during monsoon,” said Floy Peris,a resident. She added that nullah desilting in the area had not begun.

Local corporator Alka Kerkar said the problem restaurants not using grease traps was worsening the problem. “None of them uses grease traps and a lot of sludge gets collected in drains,causing outflow. We are following up on the issue and have put forward a proposal in BMC to re-direct sewerage lines. However,the proposal is awaiting financial sanction. Work can only begin after October,” said Kelkar.

Quick buck stops traffic here

At a time when several parts of the state are reeling under drought,Mahim,where groundwater level is considerably high,could well be deemed blessed. However,several housing societies have turned this boon into an opportunity to make a quick buck. They are selling excess water from borewells on their premises to tanker companies. This has led to traffic congestion in the narrow bylanes of the locality,with tankers dotting the roads,and poses a threat to the lives of pedestrians as well as school children.

“Many housing societies end up selling excess water from their borewells to tanker companies. Many societies don’t have outgoings as they recover maintenance expenses by selling water,” said Bulu Saldanha,an activist from AGNI.

Residents have complained about the issue time and again.

Local corporator Virendra Tandel from MNS said he had taken up the complaints in ward committee meetings and as a point of order in BMC. “This issue has led to traffic jams,with tankers taking up space on narrow roads. Accidents have also occurred in the past due to this. Students of schools in the vicinity,such as Victoria High School and Canossa Convent,are at risk due to haphazard movement of tankers,” Tandel said.

Tandel said BMC had taken penalised tanker companies and errant cooperative housing societies in the past,but that did not act as a deterrent.

Hospital lacks staff,machinery

M T Agarwal Municipal Hospital in Mulund (west) lacks both manpower and equipment,causing inconvenience to patients and their kin,residents complain.

“The hospital has been this problem for a long time. Over the last three years,I and other volunteers conducted donation drives and provided equipment like wheelchairs and trolleys to the hospital but there seems to be no effort from civic authorities on this issue,” Prakash Padikal,a local activist,said.

Local corporator Prakash Gangadhare said,“Agarwal hospital is a matter of concern. I held two joint meetings with officials. I have an appointment with the municipal commissioner next month on this issue. I have been trying to get the collector to hand over four plots adjacent to the hospital to the civic body,so that i can be expanded. We can then ask for budget provisions accordingly. The area needs a good,well-equipped hospital. Right now,the nearest option for residents is Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar,” said Gangadhare.

Hospital authorities,however,deny that there are such problems in the hospital. “We only have a staff shortage right now because of the vacation time. There have no major problems as such,” said Pradeep Jadhav,chief medical officer of Agarwal Hospital.

Keep hawkers off roads but at hand

Despite police taking action against hawkers on the market road that connects Four Bungalows in Andheri (west) to J P Road,the respite for residents was temporary. These hawkers had encroached upon significant portions of pavements and the street,impeding traffic. Residents now want a permanent solution to the problem and have suggested that the hawkers be relocated to an open plot reserved for a playground. The proposal to convert the empty plot that abuts Good Shepherd Church into a market comes even as clamour to conserve open spaces grows in other parts of the city. In April,the N-Dutta Marg ALM,which represents housing societies in Four Bungalows,started a signature campaign among members.

“This is where we shop. We do not want the hawkers to go away to another area. We just them off the roads. The plot is currently owned by Kukreja Developers who have the right to develop a playground and school. Our locality already has two schools; we do not require another. We have written to BMC to change the land use of the plot,” said Minoti Chatterjee,the ALM chairperson.

The plot,behind a fish market,is one of the few open spaces in the locality and hosts the odd commercial exhibition every year.

Sanjay Pawar,the ward corporator said he had sent a proposal to BMC’s Improvements Committee. “We have held several meeting with residents to solve the issue. It is up to the committee now to take note of the proposal,” he said.

Tardy desilting,worried residents

Residents of areas such as Goraswadi Road,Dattamandir Road,Chincholi Bunder Road,General A K Vaidya Marg,Kurar Village,Manori and Madh in P North ward (Malad east and west) are concerned about the progress on cleaning of storm water drains and nullahs before the onset of monsoon. Many of these areas are low-lying and prone to flooding. According to civic data,the ward has 60 km of open storm water drains,with encroachment along 1 km. “We are are talking to civic officials so that the work can be done before June,” said Sarita,member of ALM of Malad (west). Corporator Parminder Singh Bhamra said,“We have begun the cleaning working in every lane of the ward. Though work is slow,we are making sure that most of the nullahs and storm water drains are cleaned before monsoon.”


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