Gai Wadi residents, who are gearing up for the 87th year of Gaiwadi Ganesh Mandal festivities, are divided on the proposed redevelopment of their housing complex.
“Any redevelopment plan will affect old tenants like us,” said Milind Pangaonkar, 52, whose family has lived at Gai Wadi for more than 80 years and pays a monthly rent of Rs118 for a 400 sqft two-room apartment.
“We may have to leave and the cultural traditions that we maintain as a community will simply disappear.”
Pangaonkar recalled hearing speeches of Marathi cultural icon, Acharya Atre, amid huge crowds during Ganesh festivals at Gai Wadi.
“We have lived here like one big family,” said Pangaonkar’s mother, Sandhya, 81. “If the chawls go then nothing will be the same.”
However, others feel the old has to make way for the new. “The glaring issue is of finances,” says Abhay Gawde, 45, who has an office in Gai Wadi and is a committee member of the tenants’ association.
“Most people want redevelopment so they can start living in decent apartments instead of crumbling and dilapidated chawls. One cannot have heritage and modernity at the same time,” Gawde added.