Yesterday, this paper carried a report about Matunga residents taking over the area under Tulpule Chowk flyover at King’s Circle for beautification. After running from pillar to post seeking permissions for two years for the project, they finally received approval to give a makeover to the space below the flyover. The area below Tulpule Chowk flyover was in pathetic condition, with illegal encroachment and parking.
The plan proposes a 1-km long park below the flyover, starting from Maheshwari Udyan towards Dadar TT bridge. Residents now have to raise around R3 crore to build and maintain the park, for which they are planning to approach multinational corporations. A number of residents are optimistic about making it the best park in Mumbai. The Matunga residents have showed admirable and rare persistence, in getting permissions for this project. Because of the hardship involved and patience required, we see many projects fall by the wayside, good intentions come to naught because of the sheer amount of red tape that people just do not have the time or the resources to negotiate. Yet, we have seen that communities flourish when there is united effort and people’s power comes to the fore.
Areas with strong ALMs are hugely effective when tackling civic problems in the area, from cleanliness to petty crime. They are an example of what like-minded people can do when they decide to come together. Matunga has now decided that since this is their area, they have a stake in it and have taken direct responsibility to improve their quality of life. While one admits that the kind of time and resolve needed to swing any kind of project is copious, let us take heart from the fact that some residents are refusing to buckle down, admit defeat or leave everything in the hands of the civic authorities.
This is a first step for Matunga, and admittedly, they have a long way to go before the project sees fruition. Yet, it is a lesson in never-say-die spirit. One hopes more Mumbai societies follow suit. More power to the people.