Mumbai: Rs 4 crore flats in Prabhadevi come with a 'defecating' view
Prabhadevi high-rise residents are forced to shell out R15K extra to guard premises against defecators, druggies and encroachers after the police, BMC turn blind eye
Encroachers seen sleeping on the footpath opposite Hrishikesh Apartments (left) in Prabhadevi. PICS/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
It's a lesson learnt the hard way, but residents of Hrishikesh Apartments in Dadar's Prabhadevi area, whose flats are valued at nearly Rs 4 crore, have come to realise that their high-priced homes do not not exactly promise scenic views. For the past six months, residents of the building have been waking up to the revolting sight of open defecators and encroachers.
The situation only gets worse in the night, when druggies and alcoholics loiter in the vicinity, forcing residents to beef up security at their own expense. That the building is located near Veer Savarkar Marg — popularly known as VIP street, as it’s the preferred stretch by government dignitaries to travel to the airport — has done little to get the attention of the authorities.
Despite repeated complaints to the Mumbai Police and BMC authorities, the residents’ pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The building’s society is now pooling in an additional Rs 15,000 each month for security in the area. At any given time, at least four guards man the premises.
"I moved into this building around nine months ago. Within some days, I started noticing people on the footpath. In the beginning I thought they must be vendors, but when I spotted them again in the night, I realised they had encroached the entire area," said Dr Punit Shah, resident and honorary secretary of the housing society. "These people don't just live on the footpath, but also eat, cook and defecate nearby — sometimes right outside our apartment campus," he added.
Following a spate of alarming incidents, including cases of assault against residents by druggies, members of the committee filed a complaint with the Dadar police. "We requested removal of the footpath dwellers, but the cops turned a blind eye to our problem. Over 20 people continue to live on the footpath," a resident said.
Consequently, Dr Shah wrote to the Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar. They are yet to hear from him.
“We are fed up of the midnight scuffles between the dwellers and residents. There have been three occasions, where some of the residents were assaulted, when we asked the encroachers to leave,” said another resident. “We don’t understand why cops are not taking action against them,” the resident added.
A footpath dweller urinates in front of the building’s premises
The footpath is situated next to the Electronic Corporation Of India Limited building. “Guards from that building were also assaulted when they tried to shoo the dwellers away,” said Dr Shah. "We have so many senior citizens living alone in the building. For their safety, we are forced to spend from our own pockets for extra security. We hope cops will take action soon,” said Dr Shah.
Vijay Kulkarni, chairman of Hrishikesh Housing Society, said, "We are living in fear. The decision to spend on additional security had to be taken to avoid any untoward incident."
When contacted, Diwakar Shelke, senior police inspector, Dadar police station, said, “We received a complaint from the residents and we have been continuously taking action against them. Even recently, the cops were sent to the spot. The onus is on the BMC authorities to end this problem. We are trying to find a solution.”