Residents living near the Mahim chowpatty have joined hands with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to clean the chowpatty. Residents said though the contract of cleaning the beach had been under the BMC for the last five years, they took the initiative to make things fall in place. With several clean-up drives, people from all age groups volunteered to clean the beach. Plastic bottles, clothes and other waste was picked by residents and disposed off carefully over the past eight months.
Anwar Khan, chairman of Advanced Local Management (ALM), Durgah street, for the last 12 years, said the cleaning process by BMC was started initially but for reasons not yet known it was stopped before it was complete. “The moment we got to know that the contract still exists, we decided to pester civic officials. Locals also come together to make sure that hawkers don’t roam around the place and keep an eye on encroachments as well,” said Khan.
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Tasneem Shukul, secretary of Pandurang Naik marg residents’ association and joint secretary of citizens’ forum, said because she lived closer to the beach she monitored it on a regular basis and took the initiative forward. “Very soon a joint committee of local corporators, BMC and contractors is going to be formed,” added Shukul.
Local residents said the beach wasn’t accessible for proper cleaning because of the stones piled up by public works department. Sometimes, local residents find it difficult to stop people who dump waste as they are questioned about their identity and who are they to stop others, complained a few locals. People from Sawera society, Al bahar society, Al magdum palace society, makarand society and few others have joined the initiative to clean the beach.
Assistant commissioner of G North Ward Ramakant Biradar said BMC had installed watch towers so that police officers could keep the beach safe and the security near the beach has also been increased. “The land is under the Central government, but after waiting for a few years the BMC decided to take initiative on its own. Toilets are built across the beach so that people don’t defecate in open. The project will be completed within a year,” said Biradar.
A local police officer told The Indian Express that during high tides the waste came to shore and during low tide it went back into the sea which was one of the major issues. Locals have complained about the contractors not being cooperative. One of the local contractors said the cleaning process was going on and it happened twice a day.