Residents of Balkrishna Housing Society at Seven Bungalows, Versova aren’t allowing the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) to erect piers of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro station staircase outside their building. They were compelled to take this stand after the MMOPL damaged the society’s sewage line, which is connected to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) sewage line, resulting in water overflow in the compound and increasing the chances of malaria and dengue last May. Last week, on three occasions, the residents gheraoed sub-contractors and prevented them from working on the project.
Speaking to Sunday Mid Day, Abhishek Talwar, secretary of the society, said, “When we learnt how the MMOPL had damaged the sewage line of our building that is connected to the main BMC line last May, we brought this to the notice of the MMOPL authorities. The contractor, working at the site as well as the authorities, assured us that they would repair it at the earliest. But even after 11 months the sewage line hasn’t been repaired. As a result, we have to discharge the sewage water of our building into the storm water drain of BMC, which it adjacent to our compound wall.”
When this correspondent visited the society premises he found that the water from the sewer drainage was overflowing in the building. To add to this problem, a foul smell was emanating from the water. One of the comittee members from the society, Anil Tejwani also alleged that the drainage water in the premises is becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “There have already been three cases of malaria and two cases of dengue in our society. MMOPL is responsible for it, as they are not repairing our sewage pipe. We have decided that unless they repair it we won’t let them carry out the construction of piers adjacent to our building compound wall.”
The residents are disgruntled, as they have already written several letters to the K-West ward of the BMC requesting them to repair the damaged line. But rather than solving their problem, the authorities have asked them to compromise with the situation. BMC officials from the Versova Pumping station advised the society members that they should release the water in the storm water drain temporarily. “We are releasing the sewage water in the storm water drain, but with the monsoon approaching we want MMOPL and BMC to solve the problem at the earliest. Otherwise there will be a huge water-logging problem in our building which will have an impact on the health of small children and senior citizens,” says Talwar.
Talwar added that recently, after the residents created a hue and cry, the BMC officials prepared a diagram of how the damaged sewage line can be repaired and gave it to MMOPL contractors. “An engineer from the BMC K-West ward showed me a diagram which was handed over to the MMOPL contractor. But the MMOPL authorities are not at all concerned about solving the problem.” Fearing for their children’s safety, the residents have already stopped them from playing in the building premises. When this correspondent took a look at the storm water drain adjacent to the boundary wall, he saw that MMOPL has started erecting pillars in these drains too, which will only result in more water logging in the area.
However, when contacted, a spokesperson from MMOPL said, “The problem in the sewage line is not due to the construction work of Mumbai Metro One. However, in the larger interest of the public, we will extend our full cooperation in taking up the matter with the respective authorities, under the guidance of MMRDA.” MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, “We will ask MMOPL to carry out the repairing work of the damaged sewer line immediately so that society members do not have to face inconvenience.” When contacted, Ashok Khaire, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC, said, “Basically it’s the duty of the contractor who has damaged the sewage line to repair it but if that hasn’t happened, then the BMC will repair it at the earliest. We will also recover the money from contractor or the agency which is responsible for the damage of the sewage line.”