BMC's Deep Cleaning Drive In Ghatkopar And Kurla: A Sham Or Solution?

BMC's Deep Cleaning Drive In Ghatkopar And Kurla: A Sham Or Solution?

The efficacy and methodology of these endeavors have come under intense scrutiny, with residents and local leaders lambasting the corporation's approach as nothing short of wasteful and ineffectual.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Sunday, March 10, 2024, 01:25 AM IST
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In a purported bid to tackle Mumbai's plethora of problems, from pollution to water scarcity, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has embarked on a series of "deep cleaning" drives. However, the efficacy and methodology of these endeavors have come under intense scrutiny, with residents and local leaders lambasting the corporation's approach as nothing short of wasteful and ineffectual.

The latest episode in this ongoing saga unfolded in Ghatkopar and Kurla, where BMC officials, accompanied by Mumbai Suburbs District Guardian Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, conducted a high-profile clean-up operation. The designated areas were Naidu Colony Marg in Ghatkopar East and Kale Marg in Kurla West.

Under the banner of "making Mumbai clean, beautiful, and green," BMC's deep cleaning initiatives, purportedly initiated at the behest of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, have been occurring every Saturday across the city. While BMC contends that the practice of watering roads aids in dust control and curbing air pollution, residents have observed a starkly different outcome. Despite BMC's assertion of achieving the cleanest air in February 2024 compared to the last five years, residents' experiences paint a contrasting reality, casting doubt on the actual impact of the deep cleaning drive purportedly spanning all 25 wards over the past 15 Saturdays.

Avinash Kadam, MNS leader, voiced his concerns, stating, "Ward no.125 encompasses Ramabai Nagar, Naidu colony, best colony, police vasahat, godrej colony, panther colony, which constitutes most of the slum area. Despite a few places being targeted in the deep cleaning drive, we haven't witnessed any noticeable change afterward. While Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has initiated a commendable effort, it's imperative to maintain consistency. It shouldn't take the presence of the CM for cleaning to occur. Instead of squandering funds on mere beautification efforts and political theatrics, emphasis should be placed on raising awareness among citizens to uphold cleanliness. BMC workers exhibit laziness; they simply give a thumb impression on paper without fulfilling their duties. The sporadic appearance of officers, akin to the day the CM visits, isn't sufficient. Clean-up campaigns must occur regularly. I propose BMC implements an online complaint facility for the clean-up drive. After the drive, residents should be able to report neglected areas online, with immediate action being taken. Online helplines or Twitter complaints should be treated with seriousness."

Prashant Parab, a resident of Naidu Colony, expressed his dismay, stating, "This marks the first instance where any cleaning campaign has been witnessed in our area. Neither a single sweeper nor any official has ever paid attention to this locality. They claim 15 weeks of drives, but were they conducted in hidden areas beyond our sight? This cleaning drive seems nothing more than a staged spectacle, a one-day drama orchestrated merely for appearances. We witnessed officials working only because the Chief Minister's visit was imminent. We hadn't even heard of this campaign until Saturday; it seems like a mere show-off. Why is there a lack of cleaning on other days?

"We can guarantee that from tomorrow onwards, no one from the department will bother to check whether our area remains clean or reverts to its former state. Despite residing in slums, we ensure cleanliness within our premises. Women from our chawl take it upon themselves to clean the lanes as no one comes to collect garbage or maintain cleanliness."

"If BMC is paying salaries to Solid Waste Management (SWM) workers, why are they nowhere to be seen? We support the initiative and its motto, advocating for change and cleanliness. However, our area does not require water to be wasted on roads; there are numerous nullahs passing through our slums that desperately need cleaning. When will that happen?"

Bhushan Shetty, another resident from Naidu Colony, expressed his frustration, remarking, "The excessive water wastage in this campaign is appalling. It's particularly painful when we face irregular water supply and yearn for clean water. Yet, these officers are squandering copious amounts of water on roads to tackle the dust issue. What possible logic justifies this? Pant Nagar in Ghatkopar witnesses the highest volume of construction activity, with many developers flouting pollution control norms. Who is monitoring this situation? The residents of Pant Nagar endure significant trouble due to dust particles. BMC should prioritize selecting the right locations for their future campaigns."

Tukaram Kadam, a former corporator of Ghatkopar, lauded the initiative, stating, "This campaign is effectively raising awareness among residents of slums and chawls. For the first time, people in this locality are witnessing Chief Minister and IAS officers personally involved in road cleaning efforts. However, there are several critical aspects that require attention during these campaigns. Our area is plagued by numerous nullahs choked with garbage, particularly evident during the monsoon season. It is imperative that we prioritize cleaning these nullahs. Unfortunately, the contractors only address the sludge partially, leading to waterlogging in remote areas. The cleaning of the Mithi River and nullahs should not be limited to the monsoon season; it should be a year-round endeavor. Only then can we truly witness tangible change and improvement in our surroundings."

Accompanying these scathing critiques are damning visuals of neglected waterways choked with garbage, stark reminders of BMC's failure to address core infrastructure issues. The sight of polluted nullahs and crumbling embankments serves as a poignant indictment of the corporation's misplaced priorities and lackluster execution.

BMC's much-touted deep cleaning drives, far from being a panacea for Mumbai's woes, appear to be little more than a cynical exercise in optics. As residents and local leaders alike decry the corporation's ineffectiveness and wastefulness, the urgent need for genuine, sustained action to address the city's sanitation challenges becomes glaringly apparent. It's high time for BMC to heed these impassioned pleas and enact meaningful reforms before Mumbai's problems spiral further out of control.

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