With Metro 3 construction picking up pace, contractors have begun rock blasting work to prepare a launching shaft for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at Marol Naka but it has led to complaints from residents of the area about the tough time it was giving them.
“Pieces of rock are flying into our homes. This could injure us or damage our property. The noise levels are very high. They never inform us before they begin the blasting. We suddenly hear a loud noise and feel tremors in the house,” said a member of the Jacinto family living near the construction site.
A contractor’s staffer working at the site, however, said, “It is a one-off incident and we have taken note of it. We will take preventive measures to ensure this does not happen again.”
According to the data recorded by the contractors, the blasting creates noise levels up to 92 dB. Residents claim that the noise was taking a toll on the health of the large population of senior citizens in the area.
“Noise levels as high as that can lead to issues with the heart and mental health. They are playing with the health of people. Many senior citizens may already have heart disease and this will only make it worse. The MMRC (Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation) should have an action plan and take the residents into confidence,” said Sumaira Abdulali, an activist working against noise pollution.
The residents are also complaining of prolonged respiratory infection due to continuous exposure to dust particles and smoke.
“Since the work has begun, I have been continuously suffering from cough. My house faces the construction site and a compressor’s vent is constantly blowing fumes into the house. I cannot step outside the house because of the pollution,” said an 83-year-old resident of the area.
After the blasting work began, the residents have also been noticing cracks developing in their buildings.
“Cracks have appeared on the walls and even tiles in our homes. When we bring it to the notice of the contractors, they do not take note of it. Even when they come to our building to take measurements of the site they do not share any information. When we are cooperating with them, why is there no cooperation from their side?” asks a member of the Fernandez family.
Anti-noise activist Godfrey Pimenta is getting ready to organise a morcha in front of the MMRC site. “We have written several mails to the MMRC and even approached the police and Lokayukta with regard to the noise. But there has been no response from the MMRC and they turn a deaf ear to the public’s woes. This has been their stand from Colaba to SEEPZ,” said Pimenta.
MMRC did not respond to the allegations made by the residents of Marol.