Mumbai: BMC 'A' Ward Without Full-Fledged Assistant Municipal Commissioner For Around 2 Years

Mumbai: BMC 'A' Ward Without Full-Fledged Assistant Municipal Commissioner For Around 2 Years

BMC's 'A Ward' is Mumbai's most neglected administrative ward. The ward receives lakhs of people who pour into office on weekdays, adding to the pressure on the already crumbling civic infrastructure.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Sunday, January 14, 2024, 01:15 PM IST
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The BMC's 'A Ward' is where institutions such as Mantralaya, Vidhan Bhavan, Reserve Bank of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange, and iconic monuments like the Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, CSMT, Churchgate and the civic body's head office itself, are located. It is also the most neglected administrative ward in Mumbai. As the accompanying photos reveal, rubbish is strewn everywhere; the pavements are in pathetic condition, hundreds of hawkers encroach roads and footpaths with impunity, drains overflow, and at night, rats scurry out of their holes searching for food. 'I find it below my dignity to walk here. Almost all the roads and footpaths are encroached by hawkers and even shopkeepers," says Kunti Oza, chairperson of the Clean Mumbai Foundation. "At night people sleep on pavements. My NGO and others are trying to improve matters, though." The MLA of the area, Rahul Narwekar, is the speaker of the legislative assembly, yet that has not spurred the 'A' staff into action. 

India's richest municipal corporation struggles to provide basic services 

This ward has been without a full-fledged assistant municipal commissioner for more than two years. A Ward receives lakhs of people who pour into offices situated here on weekdays and add to the pressure on the already crumbling civic infrastructure. India's richest municipal corporation continues to grapple with the provision of essential services in its first ward, leaving residents struggling with issues ranging from inadequate sanitation to substandard health and infrastructure. 

Mobile toilet buses for women could be seen surrounded by filth 

Despite promises of development by Mumbai's Guardian Minister, Deepak Kesarkar, the envisioned progress remains confined to paper. Within a mere 300 metres of Mantralaya, people can be seen living on footpaths, while the primary bus depot of CSMT shows deteriorating conditions at its bus stops. Even a mobile toilet bus for women, part of the Swachh Sarvekshan initiative, is surrounded by filth. A pile of garbage and debris is seen in front of the General Post Office. Nagindas Master Road is another narrow lane packed with hawkers and illegal food vendors. 

Residents are concerned about their health

Rubina Shaikh, a Mahatma Phule SRA CHS resident, Nariman Point, has consistently reported issues with street vendors and garbage being dumped near her building, but no action has been taken. Residents are concerned about health risks; they fear the spread of diseases such as dengue and malaria. 

Former BJP corporator Harshita Narvekar claims to continue working for the locals even after the completion of her tenure. She emphasises the need to raise funds for the area, considering its unique challenge of managing tourist and heritage places. Narvekar believes that resolving the issues requires the implementation of a hawker policy by the BMC. Executive Engineer Jaydeep More refused to comment on the chaos prevailing in his ward. Incidentally, he is currently touring Italy.

The lack of representatives has left residents feeling unheard 

With no active corporators, locals are frustrated. The absence of representatives has left residents feeling unheard and discontented. The neglect of essential services, coupled with unfulfilled promises of development, underscores the need for a concerted effort from local authorities, elected representatives, and the municipal corporation. The residents of A Ward anxiously await tangible improvements that can transform their daily lives and restore the vitality of this significant area.

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