'Our ward isn't a dumping ground'
Spread across 32.5 sq km, the M-East ward is one of the largest in the eastern suburbs - large enough to warrant 13 corporators. It covers areas such as Deonar, Govandi, Mankhurd and Trombay, with a large percentage of slum population. This ward is also home to public sector companies and utilities like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF), defence units and other such set-ups.
Since January, the Deonar dumping ground has witnessed multiple blazes, leading to the entire Chembur-Govandi-Mankhurd belt being covered in smoke. Pic/Sameer Markande
One of the biggest issues specific to this area is the Deonar dumping ground, which was in the news earlier this year after a major fire broke out, enveloping the city in smog for days.
The mountains of garbage are several storeys high at the dump yard, which continues to operate far above its maximum capacity. File pic
Deonar disaster: Mumbai’s oldest and biggest dumping ground has long been functioning overcapacity and has become a major health and safety hazard for locals. The dump yard is filled with mountains of garbage that are several storeys high. This waste consists of scrap material like metal, paper and plastic, apart from organic matter. All of this is a perfect recipe for a fire disaster. In January, the dump yard witnessed one of the biggest blazes that took days to quench, as new fires kept starting due to the methane gas released from the decomposing waste. The entire city was enveloped in a blanket of smoke for days on end, and citizens complained of issues like respiratory ailments and itchy skin and eyes. Despite this, the authorities are yet to take any concrete step to shut down the dumping ground.
Usurping utilities: The high concentration of slum dwellings in Govandi, Mankhurd and Deonar has also led to rampant theft of water and electricity, with local mafia controlling both. The authorities have tried cracking down on such illegal supply, but the local mafia presents strong opposition.
Druggie dropouts: This ward also witnesses a rampant drug problem and a high percentage of school dropouts. In fact, the two issues are connected. Locals say that the civic school in this ward is in a terrible condition, and the teachers are often absent themselves. Several kids choose to simply drop out of school and then take to drugs.
Sayed Farid Hussain
Resident of Trombay
Compared to the other wards, the M-east ward is the worst. This ward is totally neglected and lacks basic amenities. Even the sewage system is not managed properly. Once the monsoon arrives, all the failings of politicians will be revealed.
Resident of Govandi
Corporators are only seen in the slum pockets before the elections, as it’s a major vote bank. They are supposed to ensure education but the civic school is in a pathetic condition. Sometimes the teachers are missing from the school. Water theft is also very common in the slum belt but nothing is done about it because the mafia pays bribes to the authorities. It results in water shortage in other areas.
Resident of Mankhurd
The M-east ward is very unclean. Open drains are a big problem here. Due to the unhygienic condition, locals have to suffer the mosquito menace that has led to many health problems.
Resident of Govandi
Every year, this ward witnesses water-logging but the authorities are yet to come up with a proper solution. They only start cleaning the drainage system a few days before the monsoon and so, they don’t manage to desilt all the nullahs.
Resident of Trombay
The major problem affecting us is the dumping ground; the authorities must do something about the dump yard to make the nearby areas smoke-free. It has been months since we last breathed smoke-free air.
Raj Kumar Sharma
Adavnced locality management (ALM) activist since 20 years
The M-east ward is nothing but a dumping yard for the municipal authorities. The Deonar dumping ground is a problem that has remained unsolved for years and all biomedical waste is still brought to there. Huge slum rehabilitation projects have been undertaken but have been managed very badly. The ward still needs a decent sewage system and water theft has also led to contamination of the water supply in many areas. In addition, the sorry state of education is pushing children towards drug addiction.
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 email@example.com
Lotus colony, Shivaji Nagar, Shivaji nagar no: 2, Shashtri Nagar, Baiganwadi, Mankhurd village, Chitta camp, Anushakti Nagar, New Gautam Nagar, Deonar slaughter house, Deonar village, RCF township, Adarsh Nagar, Anik village.
Ward numbers and corporators:
129 Reshma Ramesh Nevrekar, 130 Mohammed Siraj Shaikh, 131 Sheikh Noorjahan, 132 Rais Shaikh, 133 Shantaram Patil, 134 Rahul Ramesh Shewale, 135 Hanifa Bi, 136 Manju Bholeshankar Kumare, 137 Sunanda Vithal Lokare, 138 Arun Vishvanath Kamble, 139 Dinesh Harish
Population: 6,74, 850
Area: 32.5 sq km