Mumbai: 5,820 sqm park in Jogeshwari turns dump yard thanks to BMC

Sep 07, 2017, 10:10 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

The garden plot has turned into an eyesore, with overgrown weeds, garbage and passers-by who urinate in the open. Pic/Nimesh Dave
The garden plot has turned into an eyesore, with overgrown weeds, garbage and passers-by who urinate in the open. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Living in Amrut Nagar in Jogeshwari is no walk in the park. The closest thing to a park there is a 5,820-sqm garden plot that has turned into a fetid dumping ground instead. Even as the filth spreads diseases, all that BMC officials have done is send the residents running from one ward office to another, citing jurisdiction.

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The plot was reserved for a garden as long as 26 years ago, but the BMC never got around to developing it as a park. In fact, the entire Amrut Nagar neighbourhood - sized at 34,623 square metres - has not a single recreational open space. Locals who had once hoped to see a green garden from their windows are now forced to squeeze their eyes and nose shut to keep out the sight and stench of garbage and urine.

Where do they go?
A few residents had also written to the K-West ward (Andheri West), complaining that the unhygienic conditions had resulted in an outbreak of diseases like dengue and malaria. But the officials only told them to approach the P-south ward (Goregaon) instead. When the residents went there, they were redirected back to K-west, with P-south officials stating that they did not have the records for Amrut Nagar.

Interestingly, Amrut Nagar falls under the electoral ward number 58. On paper, this electoral ward is under the jurisdiction of the P-south ward office. However, the K-west ward office is responsible for property tax assessment in this locality, along with providing basic services. Civic officials said that when the residents vote from a particular area, administrative officers from the same area are responsible for their welfare. Every electoral ward has a junior engineer who is entrusted with maintenance work and, in this case, it is P-south's junior engineer who is responsible.

Residents fed up
Yusuf Batatawala, chairman of Al Mina building in Amrut Nagar, said, "All we demand from the BMC is to clear the mess on the plot, where people are also urinating and causing health issues to the local residents. We have asked the BMC to develop this open plot as a garden, as we don't have one in our area."

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Another resident of the building, Rafique Patel, said, "Amrut Nagar has 20 buildings but not a single recreational space. The BMC should take this seriously. We also want to know which ward we belong to, so that in the future, if there is a problem, we will know whom to approach."

BMC finally on the job
When they got no relief from the ward officials, the residents went to corporators from both electoral wards. P-south corporator Sandeep Patel has now taken up the issue with the Goregaon ward office, while Yogiraj Dabhadkar, the K-west committee chairman is following up in his ward.

On being contacted by mid-day, Dabhadkar said, "I spoke to the deputy municipal commissioner and the ward officer of P-south ward on Wednesday, and they have assured me that the plot will be cleaned at the earliest."

Assistant Municipal Commissioner of K-west ward office, Prashant Gaikwad, said, "I am aware of the case. I will coordinate with the ward officer of P-south ward and try to resolve this at the earliest."

'Rare case'
Meanwhile, a civic official explained the jurisdiction confusion as a rare case. "During the delimitation exercise last year, many such areas that did not have proper jurisdiction earlier, were finally marked under specific wards. It seems that this locality might be one of the rare cases where this problem was not resolved." The official also suggested a permanent solution: "Once the tax assessment rights are moved to P-south ward, there would be no need for the locals to correspond with K-west ward."

5.8k sqm
Size of the plot that has been left unattended

34k sqm
Size of Amrut Nagar, which has no other open space

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