For residents of Takshilla Colony, and neighbouring areas in Andheri (East), having a reserved plot for a playground hasn’t accounted for much.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which also owns the plot, has been dumping tree cuttings and other construction material on the plot, rendering it useless.
A BMC-appointed contractor has built sheds on the plot, occupying a sizable portion of the ‘playground’.
Protesting residents confronted the local Assistant Municipal Commissioner V.V. Shankarwar on Friday, when he visited the plot, on a tree plantation drive.
Rajnigandha Shekhawat, a publicist and resident of Takshilla Colony, has been spearheading the protests. “We’ve been fighting for the issue since more than two years now. We’ve even had to call the fire brigade as some miscreants set the trimmed trees on fire.”
Thanks to the monsoon, fire incidents have reduced. “But, the dumping continues unabated,” adds Shekhawat.
“We want the dumping of these tree cuttings to stop on this plot. We want our kids to have a place where they can play, instead of a dumping ground overlooking the windows,” said local S.S. Borkar.
“We had proposed the dumping be done in another plot nearby, which is not a residential area. The civic body hasn’t responded,” added Ramesh Khatu (67), a resident of Takshilla.
Shankarwar said that steps were being taken to address the issue. “We`ve now brought in a shredder, which will shred the tree cuttings and reduce it to wood dust. This will help tackle the fire problem in the area.”
Shankarwar said, “We don’t have any other place where we can dump tree cuttings. Hence, we’ll continue dumping here, although in a small corner of the plot so that the rest can be utilised by the locals.”
Locals have expressed optimism at Shankarwar’s announcement.
“Shankarwar has been positive about the plot, unlike his predecessors. We hope we get our playground back,” said Rajnigandha.