Mumbai: Potholes, hawkers the bane of R Central Ward

Ward with the suburb that has most potholes in Mumbai is also losing space to encroaching hawkers

An autorickshaw driver deftly avoids a pothole on New Link Road in Borivli West. Traffic snarls and frequent rallies add to the burden on roads, and worsen their condition. Pic/Nimesh Dave
An autorickshaw driver deftly avoids a pothole on New Link Road in Borivli West. Traffic snarls and frequent rallies add to the burden on roads, and worsen their condition. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Potholes are the ward’s biggest scourge. Not only are roads dug up indiscriminately, but they are also left largely unattended. Large stretches of Borivli are riddled with potholes, posing dangers to motorists. Pedestrians don’t get a better deal either; illegal hawkers gobble up large swathes of pavements. There is also a constant struggle to ensure that open spaces rescued from the clutches of encroachers stay that way.

Who has the right of way here? Fruit and vegetable vendors encroach on footpaths outside the Borivli railway station. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Who has the right of way here? Fruit and vegetable vendors encroach on footpaths outside the Borivli railway station. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

The ward extends from Devidas Lane to Borsapada Road (Borivli) on the west and the Dahisar river on the east. It has 38 dilapidated buildings.

Rocky roads: The BMC recently declared Borivli as the suburb with the most potholes in Mumbai. Residents claim that the roads are so poorly maintained that during spells of heavy rain, the gravel gets washed out, and sticky tar spreads after potholes are filled. Pits are dug on several roadsides to erect pandals for festivities, but after the revelry winds up, they are allegedly not filled. Traffic bottlenecks, political rallies and other demonstrations add to the space crunch on roads, and worsen the condition of roads.

High-handed hawkers: The street that comes alive in the evenings outside the Borivli railway station has been the go-to flea market for inexpensive readymade garments for years now. But the locality is a commuter’s worst nightmare. Hawkers, eateries and department stores vie for space.

Hawkers choke pavements at Charkop market, Jaamli Gali, Sai Baba Nagar junction, Lokamanya Tilak Road right up till Factory Lane, and up to the Borivli shopping centre.

Encroaching hawkers don’t spare even housing societies in Mahavirnagar, Kandivli.

There is still no sight of the promised hawkers’ policy — which was supposed to be rolled out this year — and repeated pleas by residents’ associations and advanced locality management committees to designate zones for hawkers have allegedly fallen on deaf ears.

Space struggles: The ward has seen a long-standing struggle to get open spaces. Residents complain that despite asking the BMC to turn open spaces into green lungs for public use, the civic body hands them over to corporators. Not only have the ward corporators allegedly failed to maintain them well, but they have also set them aside for personal use. Locals allege that Veer Savarkar Udyaan, Poisar Gymkhana and Kapol Garden are some of the spaces that are being misused.

Expert speak

Meera Kamat, Social activist
There are around 50 potholes on a small stretch in Borivli. People dig up roads and erect tents. But who fills the pits later? Once their business is done, people leave things as they are, and then blame the authorities. Pavements are no longer for pedestrians. And, why are open spaces under the control of corporators? They should be given to residents.

Residents say

Arun Kejriwal, resident of Kandivli
Vasant Complex, in Kandivli’s Mahavirnagar, is one of the oldest societies in the area and is in a low-lying locality. This means all of the sewerage and water run-off drains into it, especially during the monsoon. Each year, we complain about it to the BMC. But, we still haven’t been offered a permanent solution.

Bindu Gaba, resident of Kandivli
All of Mahavirnagar is bearing the brunt of the hawkers’ menace. Balloon sellers bathe, sleep, cook, do everything under the sun, at the traffic signal on SV Road. Besides, the traffic lights do not function early in the morning, when the elderly go out for walks and children head for school.

Jimmy Dorji, resident of Borivli
The hawkers’ menace is the biggest issue in the ward. Senior citizens like me find it very difficult to circumvent hawkers, especially when they are so brash and have little care for our safety and convenience. All the footpaths are taken over by hawkers. It’s high time the BMC initiated action on this.

R central Ward

Gorai, MHB Colony, Govind Nagar, Daulat Nagar, Bansi Nagar, Datta Pada, Rajendra Nagar, Borivli TPS III, Kora Kendra, Eskar, Yogi Nagar, Chikuwadi, Kanti Park, MHB Colony

Wards and corporators: 8 Shivanand Shetty, 9 Manisha Chaudhari, 10 Riddhi Khursange, 11 Shilpa Chogle, 12 Asawari Patil, 13 Chetan Kadam, 14 Bina Doshi, 15 Mohan Mithbaokar, 16 Pravin Shah, 17 Sandhya Doshi

Population: 5,61,870

Area: 50 sq km

Ahead of the 2017 BMC polls, mid-day presents a 48-week initiative for citizens to raise their neighbourhood concerns. You and your corporator are now face-to-face in the Big Civic Battle. If you wish to highlight an issue troubling your ward, write to us at bmcpolls@mid-day.com

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