mid-day editorial: Don't let encroachers take over the city

Feb 08, 2018, 06:06 IST | mid-day correspondent

Residents of a premium high-rise in Prabhadevi have been waking up to unsavoury sights like encroachers defecating on the pavement outside

Residents of a premium high-rise in Prabhadevi have been waking up to unsavoury sights like encroachers defecating on the pavement outside. They have been forced to shell out Rs 15,000 every month to guard the premises against defecators, druggies and encroachers, said a report in this paper.

Complaints have been filed, but the authorities have failed to stamp out the problem, and the encroachers have stayed put despite efforts to oust them. Drug addicts and alcoholics loiter below their building at night, and residents have been assaulted by some of the squatters.

This is becoming a pattern across the city. Encroachers take over a pavement, and suddenly entire families arrive. Soon, they are cooking, cleaning, bathing, defecating on the footpath where they have taken up residence. They tie cloth hammocks and make cradles for their children, who run amok on the pavement. They eat there and wash up right there too. It is difficult for residents to evict them. They threaten locals who want to oust them and are inordinately stubborn. They have a boomerang effect; even if they are removed one day, they return the next.

Residents need to have recourse to a proper avenue to complain, and the concerned authorities must act with alacrity. These are dangerous situations, many of these encroachers create a dirty, unhygienic environment. There is noise pollution with their bickering. They pose a risk by cooking on the pavement, their little children come in the way of cars exiting from building compounds, putting both the kids and the motorists at risk of an accident. Many a time, addicts consume drugs and alcohol, making this a direct threat to the locals. The Prabhadevi problem is symptomatic of what is happening across Mumbai. Tackle this menace, now.

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