While the monsoon is distressing for all citizens, residents of Mahaparishad Society in Mulund have been given a particularly raw deal, with water seeping in through the crumbling terrace and side walls making it impossible for them to go about their daily life.
Most of the homes comprise single rooms, into which the four or five members of each family cram themselves, living under the constantly dripping roof and fungi-infested walls.
Some of the residents who are living in these damp squalid surroundings have grown blisters and rashes on their feet, while others have contracted diseases like pneumonia, cold and fever. Located at M G Road in Mulund (West), the society compound encloses four ground plus two buildings with 17 flats in each. C and D wings house Kanyashala Girl’s School in the ground floor. These buildings were built 60 years ago and are maintained by the seven trustees of Shree Lohana Mahaparishad Nirvasi Gruha. The residents, however, claim that the trustees have done nothing to resolve their problems permanently.
Since the buildings are old, their terraces are crumbling. Rainwater leaks through walls and the residents on the second floor are most affected, being close to the terrace. Even the exterior walls of the building need repairs. Residents claim they have been dealing with the leakage problem for six to seven years now.
Chandrika Thakkar has a washing machine, air conditioner and television in her house, all of which she has to keep unused and covered in plastic or cloth. Their floor is lined with vessels from the kitchen corner, placed to collect leaking water. “Not just in my house, there is water in the lobby as well. I have to sweep out the water twice a day, otherwise it becomes dirty and mosquitoes start breeding in it. Everyone in my family is suffering from fever, cold and stomach pain. Even when we are preparing food, water constantly drips on our food,” said Thakkar.
Many of the residents have tied plastic covers below the ceiling to collect the leaking water, so that it doesn’t fall on their belongings.
Monsoon ailments are another problem for the residents. Mina Rupare’s (55) walls are covered with fungi, after which she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Now, her 80-year-old mother-in-law is down with pneumonia.
Since they have only one room, the family members have no option but to sleep on the floor, even if it is wet. They have to use wooden sticks while switching electronic appliances off and on, so that they don’t get electrocuted.
Residents complain that the trustees can never be found in the trust office, and nor do they answer properly when called on the phone. However, the residents admit to a lack of solidarity among themselves, which comes in the way of a speedy redressal of their grievances.
“When it comes to coming together and facing the trustees’ head, no one comes forward. Many do not even sign on the complaint letters. That is the reason trustees do not bother to change their attitude,” said Kishore Somaiyya.
Many people apply waterproof plaster on the walls almost every year, spending Rs 2,000-3,000. But it is of no use as leakage starts again. Just a year back, we put tiles on our walls but they cracked, leading to leakage.
-- Rekha Somaiyya, resident of B wing
I started getting boils in my hands and legs since I started cleaning the water in the lobby. Every time I clean the area I develop severe itching.
-- Naina Punjabi
The Other Side
Nensibhai Mirani, one of the trustees, said, “I was having heart related problems for the past two months and thus have not been able to do anything. Also, I am concerned more with the school. Other trustees are responsible for the buildings.”