Mumbai: Residents of low-lying areas in the eastern suburbs of Sion, GTB Nagar and Chunabhatti have been facing a serpentine menace for years now. Every time there is a heavy downpour and waterlogging ensues, snakes emerge from drains or from nearby bushes in the area and enter the premises of their buildings.
Ajay Devendran, a resident of Jay Bharat Nagar in Sion east said that snakes have been an issue for the locals for many years now. “There are lot of creepers and bushes in the area, which become the shelter and breeding areas for these snakes during the monsoon. At times, due to waterlogging, these snakes emerge from their areas of refuge and enter the homes and compounds,” Devendran said.
However, he mentioned that there have been no incidents of deaths due to snake bites but many serious accidents have occurred because of the snakes.
“Recently, a snake had wrapped itself around a toddler’s feet. Had it bitten the toddler, the situation could have turned serious,” Devendran recalled.
Another resident, requesting anonymity, said that the snakes often take shelter inside the drains and under culverts. He also mentioned that there are marshy lands in the area where the snakes lay their eggs.
Local Shiv Sena corporator Ramdas Kamble, however, said that desilting of the drains was being carried out regularly by the BMC in these low-lying areas.
“Many of these low-lying areas are used as garbage dumping grounds by local residents. Despite our warnings, they continue to throw garbage there and often the snakes find shelter on these lands,” said Kamble on Tuesday. He also mentioned that neither he nor his office have received any complaint regarding the snake menace. “As soon as we receive a complaint, we start acting on it,” said Kamble.
Local civic officials said most of these low-lying areas are situated on Railway lands and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) doesn’t have the authority to enter the area and carry out pruning of the vegetation without written approval.
“Our workers carry out fumigation drives and desilting of the drains regularly. During the rains, we ensure the drains are clear of solid waste and plastic, so that flooding is minimised,” said a civic official.
A senior Railways official, however, maintained that if they get complaints of snake menace, they take immediate action. “If there is a complaint, we work on it immediately. If the residents feel that there are snakes in our land, they can give a written complaint, following which steps can be taken,” said the official.