Our life revolves around water and gutters (drains), rues Bharat Adsul (45), a resident of Chor Bazaar, an area infamous for selling stolen goods.
For people like Adsul, who live in Mumbadevi, leaking drains have become a perennial problem. “Dirty water flows through this place throughout the day and many times, it also mixes with the pipelines supplying drinking water,” said Adsul.
All of Mumbadevi constituency, which consists of areas like Pydhonie, Nagpada, Kamathipura, Dongri, Umerkhadi and Null Bazaar, faces this problem because most of the drainage pipes in the area have outlived their utility and break down at regular intervals.
“The mixing of such dirty water with drinking water results in health hazards,” said Adsul. “Many of us suffer from regular bouts of dysentery and jaundice.”
Politicians contesting the polls here have promised a complete overhaul of these utilities if elected. “My thrust would be on infrastructure development,” said Amin Patel, Congress candidate who as a corporator was responsible for bringing in Rs 24 crores as a civic fund for the Kamathipura area.
His opponent, Anil Padwal of the Shiv Sena, talks about the overall development of the place. “I would focus on planned development and would change the face of this area which has been neglected by the ruling combine for years,” said Padwal, son of former Mayor Chandrakant Padwal.
Mumbadevi has many bustling wholesale markets, which attract both domestic as well as foreign traders. Walking through these areas is a nightmare, with vehicles, hawkers and pedestrians jostling for space.
Another example of the poor infrastructure is that more than 80 per cent of the buildings in this constituency are in dilapidated condition and residents continue to live on the edge. Abdul Rehman (39), a Null Bazaar resident, says hardly any attention is given to these buildings. “Landlords neglect it saying that rents are very low while the contractors appointed by MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) do substandard work,” said Rehman.
He said builders also tend to shy away from redeveloping these structures due to the congested nature of this area.
The Dawoodi Bohra community has now proposed to undertake a makeover of 18 acres of the Null Bazaar area, which would redevelop 218 old buildings, 4,000 families and 2,000 shops and offices into new plush premises.
Patel promises to replicate the model throughout the ward while Padwal promises to provide decent housing to the residents of these dilapidated structures.