Officials turn blind eye to encroachments, claim Oshiwara residents

Oct 04, 2014, 07:14 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Residents claim they have complained about the illegal industrial units, furniture shops and foundries to the BMC and police, but no action has been taken

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) began cleaning rivers and nullahs and took action against encroachments that were coming up in them, after the deluge of 2005. But the same civic body is ignoring the encroachments that are coming up on the banks of the Oshiwara river, near the BEST colony behind Oshiwara BEST depot.

Encroachments on the Oshiwara river
Encroachments on the Oshiwara river

Many illegal furniture shops, industrial units and foundries have come up around the river. The river is so polluted and filled with garbage, that locals call it a ‘nullah’. Even after repeated complaints to the BMC by the residents of six buildings of Siddhivinayak society near the nullah, no action has been taken.

Some of the units have been built on construction debris dumped in the river at night, allege locals
Some of the units have been built on construction debris dumped in the river at night, allege locals

New structures are coming up and residents allege the carpentry workshops are even throwing waste in the nullah, which could cause a huge problem incase there is flooding. Locals also allege that before 2005, there were hardly any structures, but later close to 50 illegal structures were constructed on the nullah.

They also say that the smoke from the foundries causes huge problems and they have to breathe polluted air. Speaking to mid-day, Bharat Vyas, a member of Siddhivinayak housing society, said, “I have been staying in the society for more than 10 years now and with every passing day the encroachment is only increasing.

I have been regularly complaining about the illegal foundries, imitation jewellery workshops and carpentry shops to the BMC ward office, the chief minister’s office and even the local police station. But no action has been taken by the BMC or any other authority. This also proves that the BMC officials may be hand-in-glove with the illegal structure owners.”

This reporter saw more than 50 illegal structures on the riverbank. Some of the structures are around 30 feet from the bank of the river, built on construction debris allegedly thrown in the river at night by the illegal structure owners. Locals say this has increased in the past two years.

mid-day also saw smoke coming from one of the illegal foundries and a carpentry shop staff dumping waste into the river. Residents are also suffering from the noise the industrial units make at night. Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said, “I have stopped opening the windows of my flat as we start coughing because of the industrial smoke.

I am more shocked about the fact that the authorities have not learnt a lesson from the 2005 deluge, or else they would have not waited to demolish the structures. Despite several complaints, the structures are increasing instead of decreasing.” This reporter saw a new structure, measuring about 30 x 20 feet, coming up on the banks of the river. The locals allege that the illegal structure owners might be greasing palms, which is why no action has been taken.

BMC speak
Speaking to mid-day, BMC K-West Ward Officer, Vishwas Shankarwar, said, “Some of the structures on the banks of the Oshiwara river, behind the BEST colony are prior to 1995, but BMC has been regularly taking action against the illegal structures and foundries that were emitting gases and causing problems to those staying on the other side of the river.

I will send our officials again and we will take action against the foundries and the new structures that are coming up. We have also sent a proposal to the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department of BMC for the construction of a retaining wall. Once the proposal is cleared the illegal structures will be removed while constructing the retaining wall.”

Oshiwara River
It begins at Aarey Milk Colony and after passing through Goregaon hills, it flows into Malad Creek.

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