Day after leopard attack, blame game begins
Residents say faulty lights, inadequate public toilets are the primary cause of increasing attacks; authorities say junkies steal bulbs and wires to make money for their next fix
A day after four-year-old Hiya Mhase lost her life and 11-year-old Sunil Bhoir had a narrow escape in two separate leopard attacks in Aarey Milk Colony, the blame game has started between authorities and residents over the growing instances of man-animal conflict in the area.
While the locals blamed dairy officials for poor maintenance of solar street lamps and inadequate public toilets, the authorities pinned the blame on junkies and the petty thieves, saying that the miscreants steal bulbs and wires and sell them to make a quick buck.
Complaining about the poor lighting in the colony, one of its residents Ankush Bhoir said, “The only way to solve the issue of man-animal conflict is to have ample streetlights. Currently, most of the streetlights don’t work. It is the responsibility of the Aarey Dairy authorities to ensure that street lamps remain in working condition. Another way to curb the conflict is by providing adivasi padas with adequate public toilets so that locals don’t venture into the forest to answer nature’s call. Corporators and government agencies should ensure that these facilities are provided to the locals.”
Claiming that they cannot do much to curb bulb thefts, Aarey Milk Colony CEO Ashok Jadhav said, “From time to time our people survey the colony to check whether the streetlamps are working or not. However, the primary reason behind the non-functional streetlights is the wire and bulbs theft by drug addicts.”
In the past, officials have nabbed several junkies after catching them stealing wires and bulbs. The addicts said they would sell these items to get money for their next fix.
‘No doctors at Aarey Milk Colony Hospital’
Still reeling under the shock of Hiya’s death, her grandmother alleged that the Mhase family had to rush the four-year-old to Siddharth Hospital in Malad due to absence of doctors at the Aarey Milk Colony Hospital.
“Had there been adequate facilities at this hospital, we would had saved on time in taking Hiya to the Malad hospital which is 10 km away from our home. She might have survived.”
Refuting the claims made by Hiya’s grandmother about inadequate facilities at its hospital, Aarey Dairy authorities claimed there was a misconception among locals that the medical facility was not good enough. MiD DAY in its report (‘Aarey Hospital gets in shape’, July 27) had reported about the renovation work carried out at the hospital.