The long median stretch under the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro line shows a different picture from one area to another; while at some places one can see well-maintained flowerbeds, other areas have unfortunately turned into a dumping ground.
The stretch at Airport Road station is being maintained by a hotel, while the area from Saki Naka is filled with debris
Local residents want authorities to develop the space below the metro corridor, worried that the plot may be encroached by people. However, officials are simply passing the buck of responsibility.
While travelling on Andheri-Kurla road, a beautified and well-maintained median, filled with flowerbeds below the metro line, can be seen near Airport Road metro station. However, as one moves towards east from Saki Naka, the median is seen filled with dirt and garbage.
While visiting the green patch near Airport Road metro station, this reporter asked a security guard of a bank nearby, about the beautified area and the authorities responsible behind it. “A 5-star hotel did the plantation work and I see them watering the area and taking care of it every day,” he said.
Ashok Pai, Secretary of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) (Vile Parle Block) told mid-day that earlier the hotel had taken up the beautification work of the entire stretch between Andheri station to Saki Naka. However, they decided to stop the work, as there were no security posted in the area, and miscreants used to throw garbage and debris on the median.
“The hotel had taken up the work voluntarily and even took permission for it. But miscreants would damage the flowerbeds and throw garbage at night. Since there was no security during the night to stop them, the hotel decided to stop the beautification work. They are now taking care of only a 200-metre stretch which they can guard properly on their own,” Pai said.
A senior MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) official confirmed that the 5-star hotel has voluntarily taken up the beautification work below Airport Road station, after taking the necessary permissions. “We have not asked them to pay us any rent or money for the work.
If any other organisation or agency wants to conduct beautification work, they are more than welcome to. It would help maintain the median and keep it encroachment free,” said the official, requesting anonymity. However, the AAP has alleged that MMRDA and MMOPL (Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd) have failed in their duties to maintain the space below the metro line.
“The area near Asalpha is filled with debris and stone, and people have even started throwing garbage there,” said Pai, adding, “We have a world-class metro service for public, and yet the area right below has been turned into a garbage dump. I believe it should be the duty of the contractor and the MMRDA to develop and maintain the median.”
On their part, both MMRDA and MMOPL have been asking civic authorities to take necessary action against miscreants who are dumping debris and garbage on the median below the metro corridor.
Dilip Kawathkar, joint director of MMRDA said, “I will look into the matter and, after verifying the same, we will take the necessary steps.”
MMOPL spokesperson said, “As per the provisions of the Concession Agreement, MMOPL is responsible only for maintenance of the median. The median beautification is being undertaken by voluntary efforts, wherever forthcoming. Regarding dumping of debris/ garbage, we have been appraising the civic authorities to take necessary actions.”
Ajit Kumar Ambi, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of N ward said, “The median comes under the jurisdiction of the MMRDA and therefore it is their duty to take care of it.”