Sanjay Kokane dreads the daily morning one-hour commute from Sion to Chembur— a distance of less than two km — when he spends most of this time at the congested Suman Nagar circle.
Projects like the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), the Suman Nagar flyover and the Monorail are adding to residents’ woes because they are far from completion despite their deadlines having passed.
“A lot of ambitious projects started in Chembur but today, their incomplete status is adding to our traffic woes,” said Kokane (45) an architect, who has been staying in Chembur for 44 years.
Half of the Suman Nagar flyover is incomplete and the Rs 150-crore SCLR is merely 35 per cent complete. Its deadline has been pushed to 2012. Work on the Monorail is also going slow.
“Lot of development projects are stuck as slums and encroachments that need to cleared are not because they are vote banks,” said Kokane.
The neighbouring Anushakti Nagar and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, which has 26 contestants — the highest in the
city, are two constituencies that have been created after delimitation.
These two areas are Muslim dominated as more than 48 per cent of the population is Muslim. Most parties have, thus, fielded Muslim candidates from these areas. These include Labour Minister Nawab Malik and the state’s richest candidate Abu Asim Azmi. These constituencies comprise 80 per cent slums and also have high crime rates.
“The crime rate is high in these areas because of petty offences generating from the slums. Detection becomes difficult as slums give the offenders an anonymous cover,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VI), Dilip Sawant.
According to the Human Development report, these two wards also have the lowest standard of living in the city. The maximum number of complaints of water thefts and illegal water connections — 2,000 a month — are from these two constituencies, according to the civic body.
“The existing infrastructure, which is crumbling under the increasing population, will not be able to bear the burden of these slums if they are regularised,” said Shaurya Vankani (38), an employee of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and a resident of TIFR colony in Anushakti Nagar.