Mumbai: “Danger lurks behind cities isolated and abandoned structures in the city,” said Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar. Pednekar has asked the BMC administration to compile a list of all such isolated and abandoned structures across the city and pull them down preventing them from becoming a haven for anti-social elements.
According to Pednekar, these ruins/isolated structures become a shelter for anti-social elements and can provoke Shakti mill like crime. “Why to wait till anything bad happens, we must act now and prevent from any such incident from happening. I have suggested that we must get the status of such places which are isolated and abandoned for years, work with their owners to get them demolished and thereafter securing them installing fences. I had even demanded a list of such places located in the jurisdiction of BMC, however, I am yet to get the list,” Pednekar said.
The gang-rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist at an abandoned Shakti Mill land in 2013, where she had gone with a colleague for a photoshoot, directed attention to the huge tracts of land and abandoned structures that lie unattended in the city, especially mill lands, and are often exploited for illegal and anti-social purposes.
A year after the dastardly crime at the run-down Shakti Mill compound, in 2014 the Mumbai Police had identified as many as 721 isolated or abandoned spots, where cops were then deployed for patrolling. However, the vigil and security measures were intact for a year or two, later these isolated structures/lands were left unattended once again.
“It is due to social media that we get to hear and know such cases. However, still, there have been so many cases that are not even reported or come to light. If such ‘hubs’ of anti-social activities are brought down to the ground they will continue to pose danger for everybody in and around its neighbourhood,” added Pednekar.
Last month Mumbai police revealed the statistics of crime in Mumbai, according to which rape cases in Mumbai have increased by 14% in 2019. The data revealed Mumbai police had registered 1,015 rape cases in the city in 2019 while in 2018 the number was 889.
Pednekar said: “It’s not just about rape cases or sexual assault but even drunkards and druggies take shelter at such places as they have no fear of eviction. However, it becomes a nuisance for the entire locality. I will make this my mission and get these isolated places demolished to make the locality safe. I will start this mission from my own ward in G south ward and take it further to other wards,” said Pednekar, a three-time corporator from Lower Parel and 77th mayor of Mumbai.