Neighbours’ one-time envy no longer owners’ pride | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Neighbours’ one-time envy no longer owners’ pride

When Anil Grover bought his two-bedroom apartment in Mayur Vihar-Phase II, in the early ’90s, he was completely taken in by the expanse of Sanjay Jheel, wrapped in lush greenery, reports Neelam Pandey.

delhi Updated: Jul 23, 2009 00:17 IST
Neelam Pandey

When Anil Grover bought his two-bedroom apartment in Mayur Vihar-Phase II, in the early ’90s, he was completely taken in by the expanse of Sanjay Jheel, wrapped in lush greenery.

But the idyllic sight that Grover was promised has turned out to be an eyesore. It also makes his nose wrinkle in disgust every morning. “Every morning, I wake up coughing and feeling dizzy. I’ve stopped going to my balcony, which faces the lake. It is sickening watching people from the surrounding slum clusters defecate in the open,” said Grover.

Sewage dump
“It is not a lake anymore, and can be best described as a sewage dump,” said Grover.

For the Grover family, the lakeside that was the high point of their area till a few years ago, has now become an evil that they can only pray to be rid of.

The grounds around the lake are a meeting point for anti-social elements. Poor maintenance of the lake and the park surrounding it, by the civic authorities, has the residents of nearby housing societies up in arms.

“The park is poorly lit. This has resulted in an increase in incidents of crime, such as chain snatching and harassment of women,” said Grover.

Fading glory
Mayur Vihar-Phase II, an area which was envied by the rest of Delhi for having its own lake, has lost its unique selling proposition over the last few years.

Delhi Development Authority (DDA), had built this artificial lake in the 1970s. The lake and its environs served as the lungs of Mayur Vihar, where residents used to go to breathe fresh air.

But not anymore. Heavy encroachment from nearby colonies such as Kalyanpuri and Trilokpuri has destroyed the serenity of the place.

Residents from the surrounding slum clusters use the lake for bathing their buffaloes. They defecate around the lake and wash their clothes and even utensils in its waters.The lake has also become a dumping ground for non-biodegradable items like plastic bags.

Declining water level
According to residents, the water level of the lake has come down to an alarming three feet, an indication that the lake may dry up completely in the near future.

“Sewage from nearby pockets, such as Pocket C, flows directly into the lake, polluting it further. We used to feel privileged living in this area but not anymore. In fact, due to the presence of the lake, the area has become all the more unsafe. Compared to this, staying in Uttar Pradesh was heavenly,” said 62-year-old retired banker, NK Bharti of Pocket F.

Due to an increase in the pollution level, there has also been a reduction in the number of migratory birds coming to the lake.

Helping themselves
Fed up with the apathy of civic agencies, a bunch of enterprising residents had, sometime ago, decided to take things in their own hands.

“We had decided to take up the cleaning of the lake every weekend. But we got no support from Delhi Development Authority. Due to paucity of funds, we were unable to carry on with the drive for long,” said BL Punj, a resident of the nearby DDA flats in Phase II A part of the lake had been developed by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) as a tourist spot.

“A part of the area has been demarcated for boating. But the number of visitors coming to the lake has reduced in the last few years due to poor maintenance. DDA had constructed a few structures, which were to house restaurants, eateries and markets for the visitors coming to the area, but till date such structures are lying vacant,” said Anil Kumar, a resident of Mayur Vihar.