Sleepless on SV Road: Mumbai Metro 2B din ruins nights of Santacruz residents
In yet another instance of Metro authorities flouting HC guidelines, senior citizens from Santacruz complain that heavy and noisy construction work goes on through the night, disrupting their sleep
One of the city's biggest development projects, the Metro 2B line, is giving sleepless nights to residents on the Santacruz stretch of S V Road. Fed up of the work continuing until the early hours, many troubled residents have even ended up calling the police on Sunday and Tuesday, when work went on till 5 am.
The past few days have been particularly bad for several senior citizens who reside in the Avanti building. Resident Joan Fernandes, 67, said they haven't been able to sleep for several nights due to the deafening noise of the Metro machines, "On Saturday night, they started working at 2.30 am and were pouring concrete for the column. When we inquired, they said they have 'orders from above' to continue the work." She added that her entire family has been unable to sleep at night due to the noise and the constant vibration.
Noisy days and nights
Another resident, Patricia Soans, was compelled to call the police in the early hours of Sunday. "We dialled the 103 helpline for senior citizens and the police arrived at the scene. But they simply said that they cannot do anything in this situation and left. The work went on till 5 am even though in residential areas, they're supposed to work between 10 pm and 6 am." She added that the loud noise continues throughout the day, too, forcing them to keep their windows shut. The din even makes her three-year-old granddaughter cry.
The timing allowance Soans mentioned was put in place by the Bombay High Court for the Metro 3 line in south Mumbai. However, HC had instructed Mumbai Metro to implement recommendations made by the National Environmental Engineering Institute to curtail noise levels. The 2 B line, meanwhile, has an ongoing case in the HC. Since May 2018, the court has not allowed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is constructing the line, 'to carry out any work that needs permissions'.
Apart from the noise, the dust pollution arising from the construction has also affected the health of some residents like Ranjeet Chandi, 70, who claims to have suffered from pneumonia in February after the Metro construction work began. "I have been healthy throughout my life. It is only now that I am facing breathing troubles and cardiac problems due to the Metro work. The government has forced this project on us even though there is no requirement for it. Even the police are not helping us," he said.
After the incident over the weekend, the residents were kept up again on Monday night when the workers chopped off portions of rain trees till 4.30 am. Another resident, Rohini Mascarenhas who resides in the Greenfields building and Mary Saldanha, a resident of Nook Apartments, called the police after the workers didn't stop the work. Mascarenhas alleged the rain trees were being hacked off in a haphazard manner without adopting any scientific method. "The sound of the chainsaw was like a loud motorbike and the noise continued throughout the night. I was only able to fall asleep in the morning. They started sawing off the trees at 12.40 am and we heard the last branch come down at 4.25 am," she said.
Mascarenhas added that when she asked the workers at the site, they told her they had permission from BMC to 'trim' the trees. An official from the H West ward office admitted that BMC had indeed given permission to MMRDA to cut portions of 13-14 rain trees to make way for the Metro project. "We, however, did send them two letters last month asking them to cut as little as possible of the trees and only where it is absolutely required. The trees in that area are mostly rain trees," said the official.
Violating court order
Crying foul over the ongoing Metro construction work, Nitin Killawala, architect and petitioner in the ongoing case in HC against Metro 2B said that no work should be going on as the court has not allowed MMRDA 'to carry out any work that needs permissions' since May 2018. "MMRDA is violating the court order because they are only allowed to do soil testing or identification of utilities. But they have been carrying out work in a full-fledged manner. We filed a contempt of court petition last month but due to the vacation, the matter is yet to come up for a hearing," he said.
A MMRDA spokesperson denied HC preventing them from carrying out work, but didn't respond to any of the other allegations raised by the residents. "There is no stay, so the work has continued after getting requisite permissions," he said.
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