Parsik tunnel in Thane is almost garbage-free
More than 300 tonnes of garbage has been excavated from the slopes of the tunnel since the second week of September.Updated: Sep 30, 2018 00:28 IST
A song in a Marathi film shot in late 80s shows a train entering the Parsik tunnel.
The areas around the tunnel are a dense green cover, clean and without any encroachment.
Three decades later, the area has undergone a drastic transformation with hutments above the tunnel and piles of garbage littered all around. The green cover has shrunk.
In a bid to get back a bit of the old charm of the area, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has started removing the garbage accumulated in the tunnel over 25 years.
More than 300 tonnes of garbage has been excavated from the slopes of the tunnel since the second week of September. Saplings have been planted over the cleaned portion. The entrance of the tunnel and rocks have been painted brightly — one rock has a painting of a tiger.
Manish Joshi, deputy municipal commissioner of TMC, said, “The illegal settlements which have cropped up around Parsik tunnel joining Bhaskar Nagar and Waghoba Nagar are around 25 years old. This area was a mountainous terrain and none of the civic facilities could reach here. The garbage van finds it difficult to access these areas. All from the slums was thrown on the slopes of the tunnel.”
The slopes were difficult to access as no JCB or excavator could reach there. Garbage continued to pile for more than two decades, turning the tunnel into a dumping ground. The slopes and the space along the railway track were also used for open defecation. The drain pipes of the slums were left on the slopes thus creating leakage issues.
The railways demanded that the space above the tunnel be cleaned to ensure safety of commuters.
Joshi added, “We started by tackling the solid waste problem. We started door-to-door garbage collection. Civic commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal asked us to rope in students and youngsters and educate them on ill-effects of littering the area and open defecation. After we began door-to-door garbage collection in Bhaskar Nagar, 80 per cent of the garbage dumping on the tunnel stopped. We will do the same at Waghoba Nagar.”
The corporation increased the number of toilets in the area to resolve the issue of night soil.
Since September 12, the TMC has been manually cleaning the slopes and the newly acquired excavator was also deployed at several spots.
Joshi added, “We have collected 300 tonnes of garbage which is around 3 lakh kgs. We roped in students for the plantation drive. Our aim is to maintain cleanliness and this can be done only by educating the people. We will also develop a drip irrigation system to ensure survival of plants.”
Railways joins the movement
The railways also joined in the cleanliness drive.
An official from the railways said, “We have asked the corporation to carry out the cleaning work in presence of railway supervisors to ensure there is no damage to overhead wires and the local services are not disrupted. The corporation cannot begin the work without the presence of railway supervisors. Four men will be deployed by us and six by the TMC for the drive. We have also asked the corporation to dump all the garbage and waste removed from the spot, outside the railway limits.”
He said that the railway have also asked the corporation to take care that none of the garbage or stone falls on the tracks. “There should also be no damage to the over head wires, existing ground utilities, storm water drains and cables,” the officer added.