Flanked by the Deonar dumping ground on one side and refineries and chemical factories on the other,M-West is one of the most polluted wards in the city.Residents of Chembur and Mahul complain that the dense pollution in their areas has made life a constant ordeal.
Locals blame the respiratory ailments that are rampant in MWest on the proximity to the dumping ground,a recently setup bio-medical waste incinerator and industrial units.
According to BMC statistics,more than 25% of the total deaths registered in Chembur in the last two years were due to re s p i r at o r y problems.In the last three years,964 people have succumbed to tuberculosis in Chembur.M- Westwhich includes Chembur,Tilak Nagar and parts of Govandi and Deonaris home to a number of slum pockets and big housing colonies.
Residents bemoan that unplanned infrastructural development undertaken by MMRDA is compounding their problems.Apart from the much-delayed monorail,these eastern suburbs are slated to get the Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road,the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro line and the Eastern Freeway project.
Development here is unplanned.The roads are in a mess because of infrastructure projects;unfortunately,the projects,once complete,will worsen problems.Monorail stations are coming up in very congested areas, said Rajkumar Sharma,AGNI co-ordinator.Living in Chembur is a nightmare.Traffic and pollution problems are extremely high.
It does not help that the congested ward has very few open spaces to boast of.Many of those that were there,residents claim,have been taken over for construction activity.Subhash Nagar had a big maidan which was used for cricket.Night matches were held there and great cricketers came to play.Now buildings stand on the playground, Sharma complained.
The handful of parks and playgrounds that still survive in the ward include Diamond Garden,Gandhi Maidan and Tilak Nagar Maidan.There was once a proposal to build a stadium on Tilak Nagar Maidan,but it was shot down after protests by citizens groups.
Dr Neelam Rane,who is contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election from Pestom Sagar as a citizens candidate,said that Mhada houses have been redeveloped and replaced in Tilak Nagar by towers that have perpetual water problems and struggle for basic facilities such as sewage lines.In Pestom Sagar,several roads have been illegally encroached upon and unlicensed commercial activity is on there, she said.
Three-time NCP corporator Rajendra Mahulkar said that security is a big concern for families in SRA buildings close to the oil refinery in Mahul.Additionally,civic infrastructure is under extra pressure due to SRA projects.Water supply is a major headache, he said.