A road that was used as a dumpyard, on the perimeter of a highly sensitive Naval establishment behind Mumbai’s Town Hall, was cleared using a bulldozer for nearly nine hours on Monday. A day after The Indian Express reported that the Indian Navy Ship (INS) Angre raised concerns over security and complained to various state departments about labourers engaged to restore the Town Hall adjacent to the naval establishment, littering its periphery, five truck-loads of debris was removed from the location.
Located behind the Town Hall, INS Angre is the seat of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command. The road that connects INS Angre to the Gun Gate of Naval Dockyard is currently a dump yard. Labourers have been living in makeshift homes at the site since the Town Hall restoration began over a year ago.
Citing the increased security concerns across all Indian military stations following the Uri and Nagrota terrorist attacks last year in September and Novermber respectively, the Navy had written to the authorities to remove the debris.
More than three months since the Navy first demanded that the encroachment be removed, Town Hall contractors – Laxmi Hericon Pvt Ltd – using an earth mover began removing the debris from 9 am onwards on Monday. By the evening there were five trucks filled with debris that left the premises and were going to dump the debris near Ulwe.
The Navy had, in a letter to the public works department (PWD) and the local municipal ward officer, stated that the connecting road behind the Asiatic Society building “is very essential for use during an emergency as well as exigencies such as fire/terrorist attack, etc”.
“Most of the debris comprises of property that belongs to the Public Works Department and garbage dumped by nearby locals,” claimed Shrinivas G Sulge, MD, Laxmi Hericon. While, clearing the mess, contractors pointed out beer bottles, paper cups and other waste that was found in the debris.
The dumpyard mainly has worn-out tables, chairs, cupboards, tubelights, bundles of metal scraps and wooden doors and heaps of wood shavings that, according to officials, belong to the PWD. The PWD had said it is currently calculating “the depreciation value” of disposed material as it plans to auction them.
All the material was discarded from the central library of Town Hall before it was renovated.
“By the end of May all the disposed material will be auctioned and the remaining will be disposed of,” said Pradnya Walke, Executive Engineer, PWD.
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