Mumbai: Sassoon Docks mayhem upsets SoBo residents

Updated: 26 October, 2020 08:41 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Traffic snarls, stench and fish waste spilling on to main roads, which also face constant traffic snarls, send locals in the vicinity to the edge of despair

Buses find it difficult to turn into lanes owing to illegally parked cars
Buses find it difficult to turn into lanes owing to illegally parked cars

Over a week ago, Colaba residents from a number of buildings near Sassoon Docks, sent a letter to the Mumbai Port Trust, (MbPT) on the Colaba Area Locality Management (CALM) letterhead asking them to address their concerns about the area.

Their two-page letter with at least four sheets of signatories, a copy of which is with this newspaper, cites a number of problems that they say have been plaguing them for more than 10 years. "This is our umpteenth letter to the Port Trust, owner of the land. We have not yet had any response," said local Renu Kapoor.

Traffic snarls have become an everyday affair in the area
Traffic snarls have become an everyday affair in the area

Bottleneck woes

Their letter divided into parts — grievances, repercussions and solutions — states upfront that they are witness to illegal parking of vehicles consisting of fish tempos, vans and taxis outside the Sassoon Docks and on Dumanaye Road since June this year. In the repercussions section, they state that the illegal parking has resulted in BEST buses that turn into Dumayne Road being unable to do so.

Residents who have pay and park are unable to move their cars since the fish vans block the entry/exit. A number of doctors stay in these buildings and need to drive off quickly in an emergency.

Fish being loaded and unloaded from a tempo
Fish being loaded and unloaded from a tempo

Traffic jams, noise pollution and the resulting mental health problems due to lack of sleep peak during daybreak.

Long-standing problem

The letter also cites solutions like all business should be conducted within the Sassoon Docks premises. "That," said Kapoor, "will take care of all the problems. While this particular letter specifies that we are witnessing problems since June, some of these are going on for years and we have written so many letters earlier to the authorities. A large number of fishermen sit on the roads outside the Docks and leave a huge amount of trash."

Concrete plan

Resident Bella Shah asked whether people do not have a right to live in a disciplined and dignified way. "The way the vehicles are parked outside the docks and people unloading their wares, it is complete mayhem. Colaba residents find their life going haywire." Haresh Hathiramani, who stays further South, said, "I know of the problems through friends. The local political representatives must give residents a concrete plan on how they want to address this. Moreover, set a deadline."
Cynthia D'Mello claims it is hold-your-nose-time as, "The stench from outside the Docks wafts everywhere. Vehicles carrying the fish must be covered."

Waste wise

Angry residents added that "the shell shredder or incinerator installed in the Docks should be used. All waste should be taken in containers that are sealed and not just dumped into a truck. Fish shells are also thrown in outside drains, clogging them."

MLA Rahul Narwekar said, "I will talk to the traffic authorities about installing a beat chowky in the area, which will address the traffic problems." Yet, locals say that "there is a traffic constable at peak early morning time. What can one or two constables do though? This is a massive problem and the landowner MbPT has to look at it in its entirety."

Corporator Makarand Narwekar said, "Right now, I am witnessing a slow and lethargic response to problems. All business has to be conducted within Sassoon Docks. Currently, there does not seem to be any interest from the Port Trust in addressing this."

Port Trust replies

The Port Trust spokesperson slammed the charges and said, "We are definitely going to answer CALM's letter. We are responsible and can control what goes on within the docks, the matter on the roads outside has to be taken up by other relevant agencies. The main reason roads outside are clogged is that there are a lot of vehicles inside, many have simply been abandoned. Certain godown owners have parking slots inside.

"We will enlist help in towing away these illegally parked and abandoned cars. Fish waste is treated and turned into feed for birds. We do have a robust security mechanism with guards at the gates. The stench is present because of the wind wafting through the area and carrying the smell outside."

Month since which residents have been facing a number if the difficulties

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First Published: 26 October, 2020 07:49 IST

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