Pratidnya Patil now waits for the municipal corporation’s garbage van in the morning to dispose of the trash unlike earlier where she would dump it near a tree. She escorts her aunt, who fears using the building’s elevator alone after she got stuck in it when the lights went out once. Pratidnya also believes in welcoming her guests and friends by keeping the doors of her flat open, even during night.
Six months ago, Pratidnya and her family shifted from her one-room-kitchen house in Kopar village to a two bedroom-hall-kitchen flat at Karanjade node in Pushpaknagar node. Affected by the construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), her family is one of 1,300 from the 3,000 in total to have moved out of their houses after the City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO) promised a compensation package in return. Padmakar Patil claims they are adjusting to the change.
“I married off my daughter in the old house in April this year and moved out after that. We took two houses here on rent. The other house is occupied by my second son and his family. The CIDCO has offered me a plot of 1,500 sqft on which I wish to build a permanent house to stay.”
Since May this year, families in 10 affected villages in Navi Mumbai started shifting after CIDCO promised an incentive package. The families that are shifting will receive a plot five times the area of the house they stayed in, 18 months of rent and due compensation amount. Most families have shifted to stay on rent in buildings in Pushpaknagar node as it allows them to be closer to their land offered by the CIDCO.
“As we have been offered the land in Pushpaknagar itself, I decided to stay on rent around the area so that I could keep a close watch on my house, whose construction would begin soon. While we are adjusting to a ‘flat-system’ culture, what my family and I miss the most is the absence of religious celebrations. That is why, on every Chaturthi, most of Kohli people set out for our village where we offer prayers to Lord Ganesha in our village temple. On these days, we feel at home,” Patil said.
In the past six months, Karanjade node has witnessed many buildings, markets and shops. Most of the village people who have shifted to the flats tend to shop from the markets located near their buildings. While staying the village, they would go to Panvel market, 2-3 km away, to buy food items. Some residents complained about water issues in their buildings.
Vandita Mhatre had another difficulty. Her father-in-law passed away few days ago but Pushpaknagar has no creamatorium yet. The family had to travel at least 3 km to be able to find a crematorium in Panvel where the last rites were held.
“It was my father-in law’s decision to move out of the village,” Vandita said. The family moved to a three-bedroom-hall-kitchen flat in Karanjade from Kohli-Kopar village two months ago. “We have also been offered a plot by CIDCO. We will ask a builder to make a four-floor structure on our plot. He will own half of the houses. We will stay in the remaining houses. We plan to offer some on rent,” Vandita said.
As most of the families are yet to receive the entire compensation package from CIDCO, construction of their houses is yet to begin. At Karanjade, the women revel in spending afternoons in their balconies, waving out to their friends on the road.
“It is congested in a flat, compared to my house in Kohli village,” Ranjana Patil, the mother-in-law of Pratidnya, said. “Our only entertainment is watching the television or connecting with each other over the phone. But I fear that it would not last long. Earlier, we would go to each other in case of emergencies. My friends and I would become distant soon.”