January 26, 2017 2:58:02 am
DESPITE living in a prime location such as Dadar West, the 280-odd families in an 80-year-old housing society continue to deal with contaminated drinking water, now a recurrent problem. For three months last year, the tenants of the Palan Sojpal society received foul-smelling water, which left many sick. Less than a year later, the water is mucky once again, and tenants are now pinning their hopes on their next local corporator. While the problem of contaminated water would crop up occasionally in the past, the situation worsened last year when the water could be clearly seen to contain worms. “My son and brother suffered from jaundice and had to be hospitalised after they consumed the filthy water the society received for several months. The water smelt so bad that everyone stopped using it,” says 64-year-old C J Thakur, one of the residents.
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Some residents say the houses on the third floor are now receiving dirty water. “The water we have been receiving for the last eight days is discoloured and smells really bad. We have stopped using it. Even after what happened last year, the problem was not rectified entirely,” says Vipul Shah (45). Without an immediate resolution in sight, some households filter the water twice as a precaution.
The local corporator of Ward 185 is Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Sandeep Deshpande, who is also the party’s leader in the BMC. According to him, an inspection on Wednesday morning has revealed that the society is receiving contaminated water because one of its internal pipelines inside the compound is choked. “The society is around 80 years old and according to the BMC engineer, the landlord needs to replace the entire internal pipeline system for a permanent solution,” he says.
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Many buildings in the neighbourhood suffer from similar problems. An old locality where buildings await redevelopment, Dadar West is plagued by civic issues intertwined with building issues. “In buildings such as Palan Sojpal, where there are multiple landlords, owing to their internal fights, redevelopment is difficult and the residents suffer because of it,” says Deshpande. He, however, adds that regardless of whether the MNS retains Ward 185, the party would continue to work for the residents of the ward.
Apart from their hopes of a consistent supply of clean water, residents say another pressing concern is that of toilets.
SS Joshi, 73, also a resident of Palan Sojpal, says the BMC should ensure landlords follow with the norms of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. “I suffered a stroke in 2012, which left my left leg paralysed. It is an arduous task for me to wait for around 20 minutes in the queue for toilet every morning. I want to construct one in my house and the BMC should help out senior citizens and disabled people,” he says.
Similar is the story with other chawl buildings — too few toilet seats. The annual monsoon nightmares of waterlogging and overflowing drains are also common complaints. “Every year, rainwater accumulates near the entrance gate and we all have to wade through knee-deep water. Even the roads are in a terrible condition during heavy rains as potholes come up every year without fail, which often lead to motorbike accidents,” says 31-year-old Miren Shah.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had implemented door-to-door collection of garbage. At the time, even though the BMC had claimed to have removed all open garbage containers in the city, three of them continue to sit in the middle of the society’s compound.
While Dadar has long been a stronghold of the Shiv Sena, the MNS made its presence felt in the area in 2012. Of the 11 electoral wards in G North ward, five are represented by corporators from the MNS.
While residents laud the work of MNS corporators, some are now pledging support to the Sena, though MLAs and corporators from both the MNS and the Sena visited the society to help when the contaminated water supply problem was at its peak.
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