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Mumbai: BMC’s bid to remove illegal toxic chimneys in Zaveri Bazaar fails

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Mumbai: The Bhuleshwar civic ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has outsourced the work to remove illegal toxic chimneys standing tall at dangerous spots in Zaveri Bazaar. However, even after hiring workers the illegal chimneys continue to exist.

Assistant Commissioner Jivak Gegadmal remarked that the BMC has hired workers because civic workers are not trained to remove chimneys from dangerous places. “Their lives would be put to risk if they would have been asked to carry the work, hence, chimneys which are not at dangerous places those are been removed by civic workers and other by the appointed workers. The workers have been appointed from January month to carry out the work,” said Gegadmal.

Surprisingly, though BMC is spending money on workers to remove these chimneys, the situation remains to be same. Residents turned activists have blamed BMC for protecting the gold making unit owners and not taking proper action against them.


Vijay Shah, a local resident who has been on the forefront of the fight and an active member of Bhuleshwar resident association, said that though BMC is demolishing chimneys, the gold manufacturing unit owners install a new chimney the very next day. While AC Ghegadmal claimed that repeated action would control these. Shah said, “Though the chimneys are been demolished, the gold manufacturing unit owners install a new chimney the next day itself. What’s the use of such action taken.”

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The residents living near gold melting, polishing units in Mumbai’s jewellery hub have been complaining about these units from past several years, but nothing has happened. Shah said, “Residents of here are suffering from asthma, bronchitis and restrictive lung disease due to the toxic fumes emitting from these factory chimneys. Every morning they begin their day with chemical fumes entering their houses from chimneys right outside the windows of their houses.”

Meanwhile, after their complaint been turned down by the civic corporation one of the resident named Harikishan Garodia also met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis against the rising risk of gold manufacturing units, during a public grievance redressal meeting held in the month of January. Following which Fadnavis instructed BMC to take immediate action. BMC also set a deadline to make Zaveeri Bazaar free from toxic chimneys by March end of this year.

Gegadmal claimed, “Only 700 chimneys were remaining to be demolished till March and all have been removed successfully, but again around 150 chimneys have been reconstructed. BMC is planning to widen its action against the violators.”

Earlier, there were 2,000 gold manufacturing units chimneys, however, after various action have been initiated by the civic corporation 1,300 chimneys been demolished. But owners of the gold units in the area are opposed to the government’s decision to shift their units out of the area. They contend that it’s not feasible to shift 2 lakh artisans and that the security of their trade will be affected. The Bhuleshwar Resident Association (BRA) has been fighting against the polluting gold units since last 15 years. They have approached the courts and complain they still have got no relief, compelling many residents to move out of this area.

Though the chimneys are been demolished, the gold manufacturing unit owners install a new chimney the next day itself. What’s the use of such action taken.
– Vijay Shah, Bhuleshwar resident association member

Only 700 chimneys were remaining to be demolished till March and all have been removed successfully, but again around 150 chimneys have been reconstructed.
– Jivak Gegadmal, Assistant Commissioner