Incomplete and haphazard infrastructure work and poor planning have made life difficult for residents of the H-east ward.
Reconstruction of the old CST Road, from Kalina junction to Shiv Nagar, building of a storm water drainage line from Sunder Nagar to Vakola junction and repair of old sewerage lines in Vakola and its adjoining areas are incomplete and/or delayed, leaving little space for pedestrians to walk and leading to severe traffic congestion on the already narrow roads.
As work goes on ceaselessly, the mess is adding to the ward’s perennial problems of monsoon flooding, lack of parking facilities and unhygienic surroundings.
For residents of Vakola, during the monsoon, water levels rise as much as up to the first floor in several buildings, and year after year, people are forced to shift to their neighbours’ or relatives’ place. “The flooding problem in this area affects more than 2,000 flats. As Sunder Nagar is a low-lying area, storm water from the surrounding areas accumulates here,” said Cyril Estibeiro, chairperson of Sunder Nagar Residents Welfare Association.
The civic body began a storm water drainage project from Sunder Nagar road to the highway, but has stopped half-way, at Vakola junction. “This wont solve the flooding problem,” said CJ Pinto, secretary of the Association.
Shivaji Nagar and Anand Nagar, too, flood every monsoon because the drains have not been cleaned properly for years. “The sewers in this area are very old and mostly blocked with silt. They are not cleaned properly and rainwater can’t flow through properly,” said Douglas Lobo, sarpanch of Vakola village.
In Kalina, the problem is different and has been created by the civic body. The 5,000 sq ft Kalina civic market, at Kalina junction, was demolished four years ago for reconstruction, but so far no work has begun. “All hawkers from the market now sit on old CST Road. This is not only leading to huge traffic congestion but also making the area filthy. There’s garbage all over the road,” said Cynthia Fernandez, member of the H-east Federation and resident of St Mary Chowk.
“The bottleneck is between Air India Colony and Military Camp. It takes more than 30 minutes even during non-peak hours to cross this one-km stretch because of the hawkers,” said Loyola Dias, resident of Kalina-Kurla Road and vice-president of Citizen Forum Kalina.
Similarly, the widening and reconstruction of old CST Road, which connects Kalina junction to Shiv Nagar, has been stalled for years. “Four years ago, the civic body started conducting surveys of this road to widen and repair it, but nothing has happened so far,” said Crompton Texeira, president of the Advance Locality Management Kalina. “In the past few years, both the traffic and the population have increased considerably and there is an urgent need to widen it. All political parties have assured us the road would be repaired, but there’s no action.”
Minesh Pimple, ward officer of the H-east ward, said: “Work on the old CST Road will start soon. The Kalina market land is under the collector’s jurisdiction and work is halted as he has not issued permission.”
The storm water drainage line from Sundernagar to the highway will also be completed, said Pimple. “The earlier tender was only up to Vakola junction. Now, for the remaining work, new tendering will take place.”
tomorrow: ‘B’ ward.