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Growth pangs

india Updated: Oct 09, 2009 01:41 IST
Snehal Rebello

Every morning, Borivli resident Uday Soman stares out of his window and wonders what will happen in 2013, when the two 37-storey towers opposite his house will be complete.

The 50-year-old has done his math: Three flats on each floor will mean 216 families. Each flat will cost up to Rs 2.5 crore and assuming half the families have one car and the other half two, there will be 400 cars.

“The towers have a three-storey car park but the pressure on the roads is anybody’s guess. Expect water cuts too. This is unplanned growth,” said the chartered accountant.

The newly-created Dahisar constituency now has many areas of Borivli included in it.

The last few years have seen rapid, haphazard growth under the transfer of development rights (TDR) provision.

Under TDR, if a developer surrenders his land to build free homes for slum-dwellers, he gets proportionate development rights northward of that plot which can be sold in the open market.

“No one understands that there is no infrastructure to support the growth,” grumbled Soman.

Many of the 2,74,606 voters like Soman want the new MLA to take the issue seriously.

They want the MLA to pressurise the authorities to scale up basic amenities to meet the increased demand.

Shiv Sena candidate Vinod Ghosalkar said that when the new Development Plan (DP) is chalked out in 2011, citizens will be consulted.

“Officials who make these plans have no clue about the area. That’s why 50 per cent of the DP is never implemented,” said Ghosalkar.

Eight km away, in the new constituency of Magathane, all that Dilip Kamble (50) wants is additional water connections and toilet blocks in close to six padas (localities) comprising slums and chawls. Up to 60 percent of the 2,78,000 lakh voters live in slums.

Here, 12,000 people in each pada share 16 toilet blocks meant for 3,000 people. Eighty per cent of the residents depend on common water taps.

Kamble’s 18-year-old daughter Manisha wakes up at 6 am to use the toilet so she doesn’t have to wait in a queue. “Had there been more blocks closer home [she has to walk seven minutes to get to a toilet at present], it wouldn’t have been so embarrassing,” said the Class 12 dropout.

Like Dahisar, Magathane, which includes the upmarket Thakur Village in Kandivli, has to deal with development issues arising out of high-rises built under TDR. While most of the padas are awaiting clearances under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, development in the next few years could be arbitrary, putting pressure on the infrastructure.

“I will get more toilets and water connections, broader roads, more street lighting, schools and hospitals,” said Pravin Darekar (41), the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidate.