Out of the 14 nodes in Navi Mumbai, Vashi was the first to be developed. With a population of 3.6 lakh, the node boasts of commercial centres, malls, advanced health care facilities and lots of gardens.
It is an example of a well-planned area, wide roads and a clean environment. The city’s nodes have excelled all parameters of the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission, an internal assessment by the urban development (UD) ministry.
Navi Mumbai, ranked third among 476 cities surveyed, is a growing city with a population of 12 lakhs. Eight nodes of its nodes are under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC).
Vashi, the poshest and cleanest node, scores over other nodes. Apart from the municipal corporation’s measures to keep it clean and uncluttered, residents too take an active part in its upkeep.
Kaushik Patel, 31, like other residents of Vashi, separates his house’s dry and wet garbage every morning before disposing it. “Vashi is undoubtedly the cleanest node. Since it’s a commercially happening place occupied by many businessmen, shopkeepers make an effort to keep their surroundings clean," he said.
Deputy mayor Avinash Lad, a resident of Sector 10 of Vashi, said he was proud of the green node which sees regular plantation drives. “We have formed a group of senior citizens’ association to carry out regular plantations near the Mini sea shore area,” said Lad.
“We have started appealing to residents to keep their surroundings clean. People should also come forward and undertake cleanliness drive,” he added.
Nearby in the adjoining node of Belapur, Mrunali Ghosh, 29, has formed a group with her friends to spread the message of cleanliness. “Three years ago, I shifted to Belapur’s Sector 8, a clean and serene area. Our group undertakes a cleanliness drive in our area once a month."
CBD Belapur, a residential paradise, also houses important commercial offices. The iconic state-of-the-art building of NMMC headquarters, off Palm Beach Road, has given the area another landmark. Belapur also includes Seawoods Karave which is the next cleanest area after Vashi.
“The entire area is clean because of its close proximity to NMMC headquarters. The area is green because of several plantations done on the stretch,” said Shruti Bhandary, 24, a resident of Seawoods.
Although residents are happy with the clean node, they said that not all areas of Belapur have been maintained well. “The area outside the station near Sakaal Bhavan road at Sector 11, near the old NMMC building, needs more maintenance. Public toilets in this node are dirty,” said Sagarika Shinde, 22, a Belapur resident.
Officials said they are doing their best to ensure a clean environment. “We are doing regular cleaning of the public toilets across the nodes but there are some areas which may be missed out. We will ensure better maintenance of public toilets,” said Manoj Patil, executive engineer, public toilet management, public health engineering department of NMMC.
Nerul is another node known for its greenery and gardens apart from well-maintained roads.
Seawoods-Darave, Wonders Park and DY Patil Stadium are the popular places in Nerul.
Vrinda Suresh, 27, a resident of Nerul’s Sector 27, said: “We have many gardens and parks. However, the municipal corporation needs to do more to maintain the greenery.”
Chandrakant Tayde, head of the garden department of NMMC, said that there proposals to renovate some gardens across Nerul, Belapur and Vashi. “This will be done in the next few months. As far as the cleanliness is concerned, the west part of Nerul needs to be improved.”
Most of the buildings in Nerul west in Sectors 2, 4, 8, 10, 18 and 20 are old and neglected. Heaps of garbage on roads is as common sight here.
Airoli is another node most sought-after by homebuyers because of its clean roads. “What makes it clean is the offices in knowledge parks which ensure cleanliness around their surroundings,” said Vikas Puri, 26, a resident of Airoli.
Balkrushna M Patil, ward officer of the node, said they have been instructed to take regular rounds to review maintenance of all sectors. “Whenever there is a complaint, we immediately address it,” he said.
But, not all nodes have all amenities.
Sanpada, with a population of more than a lakh, is the closest to Vashi. Although it has high-rises on the Palm Beach Road side, residents feel the node is neglected.
The market at Sector 9 is filthy as hawkers litter the area. “We request the authorities to clean the area as it is a blot on the clean city tag. Also, there should be more gardens or recreational centres in this node as we have to head to Vashi for that time,” said Sumeet Dandona, 36, a resident of the node.
(Photos: Bachchan Kumar)