Namdeorao Patne Marg, Tagore Nagar Mumbai 400088 became history on Friday. JCB machines, bull dozers and men with helmets and hammers brought down the entire colony, comprising residential and commercial structures, for the benefit of Mumbai railway commuters.
The colony will now be replaced with two new railway lines between the 18-km distance of Kurla and Thane in eighteen months time.
Named after a local social figure, the colony was a maze of small one-storey houses and most of the people living here are lower middle class workers or stall owners, earning an average of Rs 3,500 to 4,000 per month.
There were 1,100 encroachments on the entire stretch, of which 639 were residential and 256 commercial ones. The work was done with minimal security as residents themselves brought the structures down.
“We have been given allotment letters, replacement houses and stalls and we had promised the authorities that we will co-operate and bring down the structures and we are keeping our word,” says Jagan Patil, a resident of the locality said, amid rising dust as the wall of his shop is brought down with a bang behind him.
Few of the structures outside the station were very old and some wept nostalgically as their houses were pulled down. “I have grown up here and I have fond memories about the place. We are moving to a bigger and a better place, but memories about the place will always remain,” Mahesh Mane, another resident said.
“It had been pending since the last ten years and we can now really say that things have started moving ahead. We have been co-ordinating with the MMRDA about this on a regular basis and they had assured us that they shall get it done at the end of festivals season,” an elated managing director of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, Dr PC Sehgal.
“We shall begin work as early as possible and finish it within 18 months period, by which time new trains will also start arriving. All this will change the face of Mumbai railway now,” he added.