Mumbai: Mahul locals fall sick, due to chemical factories

Mumbai: Located amidst three chemical factories, the alternative accommodation at Mahul for Project Affected People has started taking a toll on their health. The transit camp at Chembur has been mired in controversy since a long time due to its poor infrastructure, supply of contaminated water and lack of sanitation.

According to locals, the authorities are lackadaisical about the situation. Also, residents whose original structures are going in for redevelopment due to its structural condition are temporarily housed at this transit camp.

However, most residents refuse to shift to Mahul due to the polluted air and lack of public transport. The nearest railway station from Mahul transit camp is almost seven kilometers away. Naresh Patil, a resident of the transit camp who was shifted from Kurla Pipeline area, said, “The water is highly contaminated. We have to travel for an hour to reach the nearest railway station. Moreover, these chemical factories have made us believe that we live in a smoke house. How can the government consider it as an option of alternate accommodation for people who are already affected by their infrastructure projects.”

The locals have tried approaching the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to raise their concerns however they claimed that the authorities have provided no help. Along with several other difficulties and lack of basic facilities, there has been an increase in the number of patients infected with skin diseases. In a shocking revelation made by a BMC health official, five to seven out of 20 patients that visit the local clinic every day are suffering from various skin diseases. What is more surprising is that more than 70 per cent of those affected were infected with skin diseases after they were shifted to this camp.

A health official said, “The locals have admitted that they were infected with these diseases after they shifted to the transit camp. We have tabled a proposal to the authorities to provide us with three more flats adjacent to our clinic in order to expand the area. Currently, the clinic is too small against the number of daily visitors.” He added that the authorities need to provide more facilities to these residents and should ensure a safe environment if they are rehabilitating people.

Surprisingly, the clinic is just a month-old and often falls short of medicines and equipment. Patil added, “We were shifted to this place four years ago. There was not a single clinic in the vicinity. We had to travel a lot to visit a doctor. This transit camp is worse. We would prefer to live in our original slums.”

The entire transit camp colony has 71 buildings in which there are nearly 17,459 houses. Out of these houses, nearly 3,000 have been occupied by residents so far. The entire population of this transit camp is approximately 9,000.

In addition to this, the structure of these camps is improper. Nilesh Kharat, another resident of the camp, said, “The structures are made in such a way that there is no proper ventilation. The wire ducts have open wires which is highly dangerous. There is no proper sanitation in the vicinity because of which there is a high risk of disease like Malaria and Dengue.”

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