Mumbai: Aarey's tribals can expect a smoother ride down the road

After a decade of neglect, the authorities have finally begun repair work on the internal roads in Aarey Milk Colony, which connect the 27 adivasi padas and dairy farms in the area

Looks like achche din are truly here for the adivasi community residing in Aarey Milk Colony. After years of being neglected by the authorities, the tribal residents will not only have new toilets and footpaths, but will finally also be able to enjoy smooth roads, with the Public Works Department (PWD) having begun repair work after a gap of nearly a decade.

Road resurfacing is currently ongoing at the 8-km stretch from Aarey Dairy Hospital to Lotus lake and New Zealand Hostel, and will continue in phases across the 43 km of internal roads in Aarey Colony. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Road resurfacing is currently ongoing at the 8-km stretch from Aarey Dairy Hospital to Lotus lake and New Zealand Hostel, and will continue in phases across the 43 km of internal roads in Aarey Colony. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While the toilets and footpaths are being built courtesy MP Sachin Tendulkar (‘Aarey Wah! Sachin uses MP funds to improve tribal lives’, May 1), it seems the community has local MLA and Minister of State for Housing Ravindra Waikar to thank for the long pending road repairs.

It’s no secret that Aarey’s internal roads are in shambles, and locals as well as the Save Aarey Milk Colony group have been running a sustained campaign for better roads in the area since the past couple of years. With the added clout of Minister Waikar, the PWD is now, for the first time, completely resurfacing the streets there.

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mid-day’s report on the issue on October 7, 2014

“The internal roads have been in a mess for ten years. It was after the media and our group highlighted this issue that the authorities have started proper repairs in place of the shoddy patchwork that they used to do earlier,” said a member from the Save Aarey group.

Aarey Colony has 45 km of internal roads connecting to the 27 tribal padas and dairy farms within. mid-day had reported in the past that the bad condition of the roads was, in fact, one of the factors that prompted tribals to turn up in large numbers to vote during the 2014 Assembly elections, hoping for some improvement (‘Tribals walk 4 km to cast their votes in the Assembly elections’, October 16 and ‘Aarey Colony tribals struggle with lack of basic rights and amenities’, October 7).

Work is currently ongoing at the 8-km stretch from the Aarey Dairy Hospital to Lotus lake and New Zealand Hostel.

Also claiming his share of the credit, Waikar said, “We want to provide better facilities to the people staying in Aarey and the bad condition of the roads needed to be resolved. So, the repairs of internal roads have started. The work will be done in phases, and I will follow up and see to it that the quality is maintained during the repairs.”

It should be noted, however, that this project does not cover the main Aarey road, which was also under the PWD until the BMC took over last year. Battered as the road is, the corporation is yet to begin repairs there.

For a clean Aarey
>> The Save Aarey Milk Colony is also attempting to highlight other issues that plague the area — litter, tree plantation, etc. The group is now organising cleanliness drives every Saturday. Several teams have been formed to tackle specific challenges in the area:
>> Waste management and cleanliness drives, overseen by Vinayak Prabhu and Subhash Rane
>> Tree plantation drive, led by Sainath Patil
>> Cultural and music events, planned by Rohan Chothawe and Deepa Tre

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