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After 13 years, Worli resident wins battle for fresh air

After a 13-year-long battle with members of his own housing society, Worli resident Rajiv Jain emerged victorious as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked for the demolition of an unauthorised garbage collection that was built inside his society’s compound.


Vindicated: Rajiv Jain shows the unauthorised garbage collection structure that was built by the Venus Co-operative Housing Society in Worli. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The BMC on July 30 issued a notice (copy with MiD DAY) asking the secretary of Venus Co-operative Housing Society in Worli to demolish the structure within seven days and if the society members fail to do so, the civic body would be forced to initiate the process.

The unauthorised shed came up in 1997-98 when Venus Co-operative’s garbage collection system -- use of pipes from every house to an underground dump -- was discontinued. As an alternative to the same, the society went ahead with the construction of a garbage shed -- three walls covered with a rolling shutter – which was close to where Jain lived.

Venus Co-op housing society has seven buildings that are divided into two schemes – A and B, one with smaller buildings and scheme B with four big towers. 

Jain first approached the society to get the garbage shed moved as it was blocking the way to his house and the foul smell emanating from the shed was making life miserable for his family. According to Jain, garbage from over 350 homes was being dumped into the shed on a regular basis. ‘

“After noticing that the society was not interested in doing anything about it, I used RTI to determine that the structure was illegal and after many follow-ups with the BMC over the last 13 years, I have finally managed to succeed,” beamed Jain.

Venus Co-operative Housing Society on R G Thadani Marg, which is one of the oldest societies in Worli, was promoted by the same man the road is named after. The original garbage collection system had to be shut down after the area was converted into a lobby for the towers. Thus, the society built the illegal structure.

“I was harassed in the process. My daughter contracted malaria because of the mosquitoes the garbage shed attracted every monsoon. Many others contracted dengue and there had been deaths due to malaria in our society,” Jain added.

BMC’s notice to the society says that the structure if not removed by the society within the next seven days, will be demolished by the BMC and the cost of the same will be borne by the society. Failing to do so society members can even be imprisoned.

The Other Side
Prabhakar Shetty, secretary, Venus Co-operative Housing Society, said, “Yes, we have received a letter from the BMC asking us to demolish the structure, but it’s not a permanent structure. We constructed it so that garbage could be collected at one place and covered it, to avoid any health hazards. We are not using it for commercial purposes and have written a letter to the BMC stating all these facts. We expect the BMC to take a note and understand what we have to say.”  

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