Differences between the residents of Lokhandwala, Andheri West, and the civic authorities over expansion of the only artificial pond in the neighbourhood came to an end on Thursday, as the latter agreed on extending the pond by up to 7 metres, instead of its earlier proposal of 5 metres.
Dhaval Shah at the artificial pond. File pic
“The expansion of the pond will be up to 7 metres. I have discussed the matter with the engineer overseeing the expansion, and we have reviewed our previous proposal of 5 metres,” said Parag Masurkar, Ward Officer of K/West. The pond is currently 7 m long and 6 m wide. The length will be increased by another 7 m. mid-day had reported that the residents and the BMC did not agree on the expansion, ‘Not on the same length’ (June 2).
Acknowledging the fact that the number of idols being immersed in this artificial pond had increased manifold in the past four years, Masurkar said that this expansion would be hugely beneficial in accommodating more idols. The ward officer also pointed out that the pond could not be extended beyond the now-revised proposal. “We cannot extend it any further because of a traffic problem; it will restrict the movement of vehicles around the pond. Tentatively, work for the expansion process should start in the next twenty days, and it will be complete within the month,” he said, well before the Ganpati festival, which is expected to commence in the first week of September.
“The current pond was grossly insufficient to cater to the requirements of the huge number of residents during visarjan,” said Dhaval Shah, founder of Lokhandwala-Oshiwara Citizens’ Association, a residents’ organisation that has been pushing for the expansion of this pond since the past two years. “I am happy that BMC is now doing a proper expansion of 7 metres, and not a cosmetic makeover. Once made, it will be a big attraction.”
“We had been requesting the BMC for past two and half years for expansion of the pond,” said Vijay Agarwal, a resident of Samarth Aangan building in the neighbourhood of Oshiwara. “With the expanded pond, the rush will be greatly reduced and a hassle free experience awaits residents,” he said.