The road that runs parellel to Mumbai's eastern waterfront is lined by slums on both the sides and handles a large amount of port traffic.
It could cut the average travel time by half if the encroachments are cleared. There is some hope as the state government has promised the Bombay High Court that it would clean the encroachments by May 2007.
The government's commitment came in response to a suo motto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed on the basis of a complaint letter against encroachments by two retired High Court judges PS Patankar and MS Rane.
P D'Mello Road starts from St George Hospital at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, winds its way to Sewri and extends from Rafi Ahmed Kidwai road to King's Circle.
The road has to be cleared by the Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) as part of the Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project (MUIP). The project includes widening of road parallel to the Sewri railway station, BPT pipeline gate road and truck terminal road junction to Anik Panjerpol link.
Though the state wants to clear the mess by May 2007, the civic body has a tough task ahead.
"The BMC has prepared an inventory and list of hutments that have to be removed," said Vijay Balamwar, assistant municipal commissioner of A ward.
"The list has been sent to the MMRDA. After the list is cleared, the eligible ones would be shifted and illegal structures removed," he added.
He also said around 200 structures in this ward would have to be rehabilitated for clearing the road and that there are not many illegal encroachments in the area.
Around 632 eligible slums will be rehabilitated by the MMRDA on the entire stretch of P. D'Mello Road. The BMC had undertaken demolitions but the squatters keep coming back.
"These illegal shanties are lodged in between protected hutments and even after been removed they come back. If houses for PAPs are given, we can clear the road within 15 days," added Balamwar.
Principal Secretary, urban development department, Jairaj Phatak said they have submitted the road-clearing plan before the court.
"The MMRDA will soon make houses available for PAPs and demolition will be carried out by the BMC," he said.