As a protest against cattlesheds (Tabelas) dumping cattle dung and animal carcasses and polluting Dahisar River, citizens of Borivali and Dahisar along with members of the citizens movement River March have initiated a campaign to boycott the upcoming BMC elections. Upset by empty promises for the last four years, Dahisar and Borivali residents want action and say that they will not fall for any more assurances from BMC officials or elected representatives.
"The river has been saturated with cow dung for years which is continuously eliminated from the cow shelters (tabelas) along the river. However, despite years of follow-ups and protests to pressurise BMC officials to act the situation is the same. The cow dung is not only severely damaging the water body but the smell makes us suffocate here," said Pankaj Trivedi, a river activist and resident of Srikrishna Society in Borivali.
"Politicians have failed to follow-up and civic officials show mere lethargy in taking action against these illegal activities by the cattle shed owners. Last year on January 30, we were promised that floodgates will be installed in the areas which will restrict animal waste and dung from entering the river. However, nothing was done as the city was hit by the pandemic. The problem persisted and so last month we approached the civic body again, we were told that floodgates will be installed at the earliest. We have waited for over four years and still the civic body has failed to come up with any concrete solution to the problem," said Gopal Jhaveri, founder of River March- a citizen’s movement for rejuvenating four rivers of Mumbai.
He added, "They even told us that these cattles will be impounded, which hardly happened. We were even promised that the electricity and water supply to these sheds will be discontinued. However, nothing has been done yet. It has been clearly mentioned in the Chitale Commission report to stop dumping cow dung in the river but even after 12 years, the situation is unchanged."
BMC has time and again failed to clean them despite allocating funds towards river rejuvenation every year. This year the civic body has allocated ₹50 crores for rejuvenating Dahisar, Poisar, and Walbhat - Oshiwara river.
"We are aware that cow dung from the tabelas is discharged into the river, but when we go there to inspect they clean up. We are planning to put up floodgates soon, we are working on it. However, the problem will be solved only when the tabelas are permanently shifted to the outskirts of the city, which is not in our hands," said a BMC official