The BMC has come up with a unique method of preventing squatters from returning to their slums, once they are demolished: dumping construction debris at the spot. Absurd as this may sound, this is precisely the route chosen by the corporation to keep slums at bay at the Balamiya lane in Mahim (West).
Residents of three buildings in the lane have been witnessing an alarming trend for the past five months, as BMC workers routinely dump construction debris at the spot, allegedly under order from the corporation.Nadeem Ghori (36), resident of the area, said, “The BMC demolished the slums on the pavements opposite my building about five months back, and dumped the construction debris at this spot to prevent them from reappearing. Gradually, the spot has turned into a dumping ground, with people throwing organic refuse from their homes, and even dead rodents. Some people also defecate here. The whole area stinks, and has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Having had enough, the residents approached G (North) ward officials with their official complaint on April 28, after collecting signatures of support from various residents. Weeks have passed since then, and not only has nothing been done to clear the area, two trucks full of debris have been offloaded at the spot again, blocking a storm water drain. “With a month left for the monsoons, the blocked drain will lead to waterlogging. Stagnant water could give rise to health hazards like malaria and leptospirosis. We fear for the health of our children,” added Ghori.
“The piled up debris will be carried by rainwater into the roads in the monsoons, causing problems for motorists,” said Fatima Aziz, another resident of the building.“If the BMC wants to prevent slums from mushrooming up again, they must conduct regular and stringent checks instead of resorting to dumping debris, which causes severe problems for residents,” said a senior citizen of the area, requesting anonymity.
The residents also complained that after workers from the corporation pruned trees in the area a week back, they dumped the branches at the same spot.
SS Patil, assistant engineer, environment, G (North) ward, said, “The ward officer has instructed us to dump debris at the spot, to prevent the slums coming up again. However, we have cleared the pruned branches from there.”