Rainy Season Woes: Ghatkopar's Railway Police Colony Plagued By Leaks And Crumbling Infrastructure

Rainy Season Woes: Ghatkopar's Railway Police Colony Plagued By Leaks And Crumbling Infrastructure

GRP colony's leaking homes pose grave threat

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Sunday, June 23, 2024, 11:52 PM IST
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Rainy Season Woes: Ghatkopar's Railway Police Colony Plagued By Leaks And Crumbling Infrastructure |

Ghatkopar's Railway Police Colony, once a modest abode for over 500 families, has become a deathtrap in the making. The dilapidated buildings, which have been in disrepair for years, are now a cause for concern, especially during the monsoon season. Every resident is on edge, fearing the worst as water seeps into their homes and staircases crumble underfoot.

The colony, built in 1980, has been plagued by leaks and crumbling infrastructure. A recent incident where a massive billboard collapsed on an adjacent petrol pump, killing 17 people and injuring 80 others, has raised alarm bells about the safety of the residents. The residents are now living in fear of a similar catastrophe unfolding in their own homes.

Social activist Avinash Raghunath Kadam from Ghatkopar said, “Police colony buildings once had open spaces, providing better connectivity to hospitals, schools and markets. Now, new walls restrict access. The buildings are in a dire state; slabs can collapse during the monsoon, with small parts falling every year. One heavy rain could cause another disaster in Ghatkopar. Despite the recent collapse of a hoarding that killed many, attention was not given to the adjacent railway police quarters. Empty buildings could collapse any day and have become hotspots for thieves, drugs and gambling. Even the police face constant complaints, including chain snatching, in this mostly deserted area. Building No 3 and 4 are in the worst condition, right next to the petrol pump where the incident occurred. If they are dilapidated, why isn’t the government taking action? The BMC has also declared these buildings dangerous by putting notices.”

“We've been writing to the railway police administration for months, but they've taken no action,” said a resident of the colony. “Every house has leaky roofs and damaged staircases. Some families have even moved out due to the water damage.” Two police families relocated from their staff quarters after the first monsoon showers brought water seeping into their homes.

Another resident of the colony said, “No water supply, a broken drainage system and crumbling building structures make life unbearable. We pay Rs15,000 per month for these dilapidated houses, but there are no basic amenities.”

The local group 'Amhi Ghatkopar Pratishthan' is planning a protest to address the dilapidated conditions of the police colony buildings.

Despite receiving notices from the BMC to conduct a structural audit of the buildings, nothing has been done so far. The Government Railway Police (GRP), owner of the 36-acre plot housing the colony, has developed amenities like a football ground, swimming pool and event lawns. Yet, residents lament that these facilities overlook the dire living conditions within their quarters.

Dr Ravindra Shisve, Commissioner of Police, Railways, told FPJ, “We have written to the PWD at least five to six times over the past year, yet we have not received any response. Demolition of uninhabitable buildings is PWD's responsibility. We have vacated the most dangerous buildings, and repairs for those still occupied are under consideration. This year, Rs6.5 crore have been allocated for repairs, including internal fixes, external plastering, and terrace waterproofing. We are addressing the repairs building by building. We also organise initiatives like the 'Anand Shala summer camp' for children and other similar programs to enhance community welfare.”

Overview

Year of Construction: 1980
Families: Over 500 residing
Plot area: 36 acres
Uninhabited Buildings: 24
Monthly Rent: ₹13,000-₹15,000

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