Sumera Shaikh is worried about mosquitoes breeding in her neighbourhood. “We have done everything, from pest control to using all types of mosquito repellents. But unless the breeding ground for these mosquitoes are cleaned out, there is nothing we can do,” she said. The cause for her concern is the defunct fountain right in front of her apartment in Mumbra, Over the past 10 years, three fountains have sprouted in Mumbra, none of which worked for more than a few months. “One fountain is in front of Roshni Mahal, one is next to Mumbra police station, and another one is in Kausa, near Accord Complex,” said a local activist, Rafique Kamdar.
The fountain near the police station was demolished recently and now, a new one is being built, sources said. “The fountains (at Roshni Mahal and Kausa) have now become muddy, dirty and breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects,” Kamdar said. Ismail Qazi, who stays near Roshni Mahal, said: “When the fountain was inaugurated in 2010 , it was the envy of the rest of the town. We were so happy that right in front of our house, we have a beautiful fountain. But the water supply stopped within six months and never started again.”
He added: “As there was standing water, residents of the nearby slums started using it for washing clothes and utensils. The water started getting putrid and people started using it for bathing and other purposes. Now, no one even recognises that there are fountains in Mumbra.” The condition is the same for almost all the fountains, local residents alleged. The waterfall wall built in front of Accord Complex in Kausa had been vandalised in the past, according to local residents. Aslam Shaikh, a local resident, said machines meant to operate the waterfall were stolen once the fountain stopped working.
“The water ran for almost six months. It stopped after that. When we asked the local authorities, we were told that too much water was being wasted and hence, it was stopped. But we realised two years ago that the pump and other electrical fittings were stolen,” he said.
Many Thane Municipal Corporation employees have no recollection of the fountains being installed in Mumbra. “The fountains would soon be dismantled as they will obstruct the road widening work that will begin shortly. We will clean the areas and roads would be built,” the executive engineer for Mumbra, Dhananjay Gosavi, said. “The fountains stopped working because there was no maintenance. We were waiting for the Development Plan to work on them,” said Gosavi.