Mumbai: Banganga revamp has turned our area into a dump, say locals
As residents and civic body spar over how the makeover is being done, work has stalled, affecting mobility of Malabar Hill residents
The Banganga tank's makeover, which has been going on and off for the last two months, has made the lives of local residents miserable while making the heritage area look like a dump yard for debris. Locals have also opposed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) plan of laying basalt stones on the periphery of the pond. BMC had planned the beautification of the peripheral area after which they were going to take care of the pond, but the work still remains incomplete.
The beautification work started around January, and in the months since, locals do not even have a good road to go home. With the monsoon approaching, several fear having to wade through muck after walking through plumes of dust for the past four months.
Piles of construction material have been put in the area for the beautification work
The locals have also raised questions over not being given any alternative road after the one used by senior citizens was completely destructed as part of the renovation work. In addition to this, the basalt stones being used for the makeover are also becoming an issue, with locals complaining to BMC officials about how slippery they will get when fungus grows on them during the monsoon in a few years, thus making their walk even more inconvenient.
Damage being done to utilities during digging work has also been a complaint, with BMC reiterating how underground utilities have been a reason for the delay. The civic authorities said the road will be done up once that issue is fixed.
The beautification work started around January, and in the months since, locals do not even have a good road to go home. Pics/Bipin Kokate
On and off work
Kishor Badiani, who has been residing in the area for over 45 years, said, "We have complained several times to the ward office but there is absolutely no positive response. The work happens on and off, if the contractor comes today, he will turn up after three to four days and no work is carried out. The material is lying there for almost three months. The material has been lying there for almost three months. The monsoon is nearing and if this mess is not cleared, how will we reach our houses every day? "
Former corporator of Congress from this area, Pramod Mandrekar, said, "If BMC has agreed to do away with the plan of laying basalt and asphalt on the road, then the same could have been done for the entrance area as well. This will end up affecting the social and religious events held in the premises. Now, the bigger issue is that [work in] no part of the area is complete and construction material, dug up patches are lying all around, making it difficult to even walk."
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Responding to the citizens' concerns, a senior civic official said, "We heard their demands and stalled the plan of placing basalt across the entire periphery, but the residents want the civic administration to completely stop the use of basalt stones. The plan was to align the look of the periphery to the pond, but they are opposing that too, which is affecting the work. The utilities were also very old and we had to replace those as well, which took some time." Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner, D ward said, "We will be looking into the issue as the beautification work for Banganga is important since it is a heritage area."
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