Poor infrastructure can rob 'prince of suburbs' of its crown
Mahavir Urs, 61, remembers Mulund of the 1960s as a hub for pharmaceutical factories and a well-planned suburb close to nature, with its location on the foothills of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Cut to 2012, the ‘prince of the suburbs’ is now an upscale neighbourhood; with old buildings and defunct industrial units giving way to swanky high rises. However, the pace of development has not been matched with the improvement of infrastructure like roads, drains, pavements and parking facilities.
“Skyscrapers have come up next to narrow roads. The water supply has not improved. Planning authorities have failed to anticipate the growth and upgrade infrastructure,” said Urs, Mulund (W) resident and member of the non-government organisation, Citispace.
Adding to residents’ woes is insufficient parking space leading to illegal parking. “Two plots are reserved for parking in Balarajeshwar Road and Kalpanagari, but they haven’t been developed. Trucks and buses are parked on Guru Gobindsingh Road, LBS Marg and Mulund-Goregoan Link road, causing severe traffic jams,” said Tony Agarwal, 58, Mulund resident and member of Samaj Vikas Sangh. Near the Mulund railway station and on roads leading to Panch Rasta, chaos reigns with poorly maintained roads, illegally parked cars, hawkers and encroachments.
Another major concern is that pavements and footpaths are virtually absent. The few that exist are either poorly maintained, or occupied by hawkers. “Footpaths are reduced to widen roads. The civic administration is inconveniencing both motorists and pedestrians,” said resident Yogesh Katira.
A major project stuck for years is the widening of the Nahur Bridge, which connects the Eastern Expressway to LBS Marg. The two-lane railway bridge is seven metres wide, and traffic crawls along this stretch in peak hours. “The bridge causes a bottleneck and affects traffic on both the expressway and LBS Marg,” said Aditya Mudgal, 19, resident of Mulund (W).
However, the civic body claims it is fulfilling its mandate. “Redevelopment projects are allowed as per the approved plan and after meeting Development Control norms. Road widening was carried out wherever required, as was done for Bhakti Marg and Dr RP Road. The two plots reserved for parking haven’t been developed as they are stuck in a legal dispute,” said Manoj Kotak, corporator and improvement committee member.