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Immersion site for Ganpatis in Mumbai contaminated with sewage water

Malad residents and mandals claim that Shantaram talao, which was reopened recently after Rs 4-crore revamp, is contaminated with sewage water from nearby drainage system

More than 25 years after the artificial pond was closed down, Shantaram talao in Malad was inaugurated earlier this month and has been earmarked as an immersion site for Ganpati idols. Residents and mandals, however say that they will not immerse their idols there as the area around the pond is still filthy and sewage water from the drainage system near the lake enters the pond as well.

Mandals in Malad say they will not be immersing their idols in the Shantaram talao. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar
Mandals in Malad say they will not be immersing their idols in the Shantaram talao. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had inaugurated the pond and surrounding garden on August 9 after a revamp, for which local MLA Rajhans Singh had spent approximately R4 crore from his local area development fund. The residents, however, claim that the inauguration was conducted in a hurry just to woo voters for the upcoming assembly elections as the revamp work was not expected to be completed before 2015.

After the pond’s inauguration, residents have complained of a stench emanating from the area, and claim that the dirty water from the drain next to it enters the pond. They also alleged that during the digging work for the pond’s revamp, which took close to two years, the area had turned into a breeding place for mosquitoes.

Official speak
“The MLA has taken all precautions here and revamped the old drainage lines so there is no chance of any leakage whatsoever during immersion. We are confident that mandals will come with their idols to immerse it in the pond. We have also ensured that the filth is removed from the pond,” informed Hemant D, the official-in charge of maintaining the garden and pond.

Voices

Rupesh Kadam, A resident of Kurar Village
While the MLA beautified the pond and opened it for the public in a hurry before the elections, the water is very filthy and the pond has not been cleaned properly. Who would want to immerse their idol here? The drainage system was supposed to be fixed, which does not seem to have happened at all.

Suhasini Sogam, A resident of Kurar Village
We went to the pond after the inauguration, but the stink was unbearable, and I never went there again. The work seems to have been done in a hurry. When we had asked last year when the work would be completed, the contractor had said 2015, and suddenly the work was completed within a year.

Pradeep Pomte, Siddheshwar Krida mandal
We cannot immerse our idol here, as there are three nullahs that pass next to the pond, inside the garden area. I would never want to immerse my idol in this filthy water. There are chances of us falling sick 
as well.

Manoj Rawal, Jaiambe Jagruti mandal
We bring the idol with a lot of love and keep it for 11 days. Why would we want to immerse it in a stinky pool? While I agree that the pond is closer, we would rather take the Ganesh idol a bit further than immerse it in a pond which is not contaminated with drainage water.

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