S-Ward stretches across four major areas in the eastern suburbs — Nahur, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg - but still suffers from neglect. Roads, stations and drainage systems are all in deteriorating conditions. Even the railway stations and nearby roads are badly lit, making it unsafe for women and children to commute. And despite being home to the green Yeoor hills and the Vihar and Powai lakes, this area suffers from poor air and water quality.

Traffic jam stretches as far as the eye can see at Bhandup on LBS Marg, which is yet to be widened. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Traffic jam stretches as far as the eye can see at Bhandup on LBS Marg, which is yet to be widened. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Traffic torment: LBS Marg was supposed to be widened three years ago to ease the traffic snarls there, but this is yet to be done. Instead, illegal structures have encroached upon the already constricted road. When mid-day visited the areas, it was quite visible that there was no proper planning in the construction of the buildings on the roadside. This has not only led to heavy traffic, but has also made the area accident-prone.

A flower vendor sets up shop right next to an open drain in Bhandup
A flower vendor sets up shop right next to an open drain in Bhandup

Horrible hygiene: Hygiene is a major problem, with around 20,000 people packed in the slums, with limited access to clean drinking water or sanitation. When mid-day visited the slum developing along the Yeoor hills, the reporter found that the drains were left open and roads were flooded with filthy water - perfect breeding grounds for water-borne diseases and mosquito-borne ailments like dengue.

Peak pollution: It is no secret that the ward records one of the highest levels of pollution in Mumbai. Activists and residents pointed out that small factories are mushrooming in the area and burning plastic, which leads to high air pollution. Many residents suffer from respiratory ailments due to this. In fact, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has also marked this area as one of most the polluted places.