T Ward's Mulund is one of the Mumbai's fastest growing suburbs, but suffers from the growing pains of an overburdened dumping ground and encroached public spaces
T Ward covers one of the city’s fastest growing suburbs - Mulund. More than 70% of the ward comprises residential complexes, and new buildings are coming up there on a regular basis. The remaining area is covered by vast slum dwellings concentrated near the boundary of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. However, the infrastructure and civic amenities in Mulund have not matched pace with the growth in the housing sector, leading to several issues for the 5.1 lakh residents. Here are some of Mulund’s growing pains
Just last month, a major fire broke out at the Mulund landfill, casting a blanket of smoke over the suburb. The dumping ground was supposed to be shut down a long time ago, but continues to operate over its maximum capacity. File pic/Sameer Markande
Dumpyard Disaster: The Mulund dumping ground has left citizens gasping for breath, not just because of the horrid stench, but also because of frequent fires breaking out over there, enveloping large swathes of the city in thick smoke. While the Deonar dump yard has been in the news because of disastrous fires that lasted for days, the situation is no better at the Mulund dumping ground, especially for the residents of Hariom Nagar, who live barely 100 metres from there.
The Mulund landfill was supposed to be shut down, but continues to operate over its maximum capacity. As recently as last month, there was a major fire at the dumpsite, but it wasn’t just local residents who suffered - there was a blanket of smoke all the way up to Airoli, leading to complaints of shortness of breath, asthma, itchy skin and other ailments.
Footpath Fail: Not a single footpath is left for pedestrians in either East or West Mulund. Most have been encroached upon by hawkers and shops with illegal extensions, while other pavements are blocked with construction material or other debris. Residents are forced to walk on the roads instead, navigating the heavy traffic and the haphazardly parked vehicles.
Playground Problem: While there are quite a few playgrounds in Mulund, they are not maintained properly. More often than not, they are encroached upon and used to park vehicles. Other parks and recreational grounds have become a haven for anti-social elements like drug addicts and vandals. The few parks that are being maintained still lack basic facilities like toilets, making them inconvenient for kids and senior citizens.
President of the Mulund
MHADA society association
The MHADA playground in Mulund East is full of vehicles that have been parked there. This is a security risk; how can we be sure someone hasn’t left a vehicle there with explosives? Even the dumping ground has caused various health problems to residents but the authorities have turned a blind eye to this.
President of NGO People’s
Power of Nation
The dumping ground issue has been under discussion for years, but the authorities are yet to come up with a solution. They claim they will set up another dump yard near Airoli with a proper waste recycling plant. But we fear the same thing will happen again and we will be the ones to suffer as Airoli is not too far from here.
Resident of Swapnanagri
People have now started grabbing land on the footpath also. The authorities keep neglecting the problem until it turns into a crisis — only then do they take action. Now that the monsoon is approaching, pedestrians will find it even harder to walk.
Prakash Padikkal President of the Hillside Resident Welfare Association
Mulund is changing every day, with new development projects across the suburb, but the infrastructure is lagging behind, according to Prakash Padikkal, president of the Hillside Resident Welfare Association, who said, “The authorities are giving permission to various new constructions, but are least bothered about the infrastructure. With each new construction, the roads are getting narrower. Footpaths are encroached and roads are blocked with parked vehicles. If they are increasing the construction, they should also take care of parking and other spaces. The playgrounds are in such a condition that we can’t even go there. The BMC gets hundreds of crores from taxpayers, why can’t they use this money to develop the infrastructure?”
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Mulund colony, Tulsi Lake, Mulund check naka, ESIS hospital, Topiwala college, Gavan pada, MHADA building, Nane pada, Palm Acres, Johnson and Johnson, Sarvoday Nagar and Nahur village
Ward numbers and corporators: 98 Samita Vinod Kamble, 99 Bhavna Bhavin Jobanputra, 100 Nandakumar Atmaram Vaity, 101 Sujata Rajesh Pathak, 102 Prakash Kashinath Gangadhare, 103 Manoj Kotak
Area: 45.42 sq km