New solutions needed in densely populated old city areas

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Oct 2018 09:00:15


Staff Reporter,


 Dr Jyoti Bhisikar-Dekate -- 9823367792 , Nitin Sathawane -- 7507284030 , Abha Bijju Pande -- 9960695628 , Mahesh (Sanjay) Mahajan -- 9923432641 



Shanti Nagar, Prem Nagar, Mahesh Nagar, Yendalwadi, Bastarwari, Parvarpura, Satranjipura, Telipura, Maskasath, Lakadganj Police Station, Amardeep Cinema, Bhaji Mandi, Nehru Putla Campus, Kayami Bagh, Khairipura.

Neglect is the biggest of all the curses, sticking to the old areas of all major cities. Sometimes, it is the neglect of city fathers. Sometimes, neglect is heaped upon by administration. And, sometimes, people of these areas ‘maintain’ this neglect ‘very carefully’. In case of what is popularly known as ‘larger Itwari’ area, all these three factors come into play.

Though there is an ‘old world charm’ associated with this area, there are some old challenges badly needing new solutions. For example, in Prabhag-21, among other things needed are new drainage trunk line and behavioural change. Prabhag-21 -- which is represented by four corporators namely Abha Bijju Pande, Nitish Sathawane, Dr Jyoti Bhisikar, and Mahesh alias Sanjay Mahajan -- shares certain problems relating to cleanliness and sanitation with other parts of the city. These include dumping of garbage in open plots, public apathy towards segregation of waste, choking wells and nullahs with plastic and other wastes etc. However, there are some unique set of problems too.

For instance, in Maskasath, there are shops on both sides of the road. For years together, most of these shops have not bothered to keep bins to dump waste collected throughout the day. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has ensured that garbage is collected every day from the area early in the morning. However, shops open around 11 am. As there is no mechanism to collect garbage in the late afternoon or evening, and as most of the shop-keepers do not have bins, garbage is swept from the shops and ‘placed’ on street-dividers. At night, one can see the garbage on street-dividers, only to be collected by agency appointed by NMC the next day.

Besides, as the residential buildings and shops share common wall in many of the densely populated areas of Prabhag-21, often, garbage does not get collected properly. Often, people residing on the third or fourth floor of a building that does not have lift, prefer to simply throw the packet full of garbage bang on the road snaking through various lanes. Many a time, these plastic bags get damaged on impact and the vegetable waste etc are strewn on road. Obviously, solution to these challenges is in change in behaviour of the people. Though the younger generation is more aware about maintenance of cleanliness and sanitation, the number needs to be increased.

Another major problem in Prabhag-21 and adjacent areas is that the British-era Maskasath drainage trunk line has grown old now. It is almost 40 feet below the surface. But, with growth of population and number of storeys in existing buildings, the old trunk line is proving to be inadequate. In the recent past, there have been instances of drainage chambers caving in due to pressure. Recently, a suction machine had to be deployed in Raut Chowk area to clear sewage water, which was going back into toilets of various houses nearby. The unhygienic conditions pose risk of vector-borne diseases, which may spread very fast given the dense population in the area.

At certain points, including Dayaram Wastad Chowk, gutter line has joined well. Fountains installed there as part of beautification of small portion along the road, are not working. Shanti Nagar has a spot where people from nearby colonies dump garbage. Sadly, said an official, during Ganeshotsav also, people dumped garbage right near the pandal where idol of Lord Ganesh was installed by youths. Like other Prabhags, here, too, the number of sanitation workers is inadequate to cater to existing beats. If there is any problem relating to drainage line in Parvarpura and other dense localities, corporators and officials have to call some old Aiwajdar to find out a solution.

When ‘The Hitavada’ contacted the seniormost corporator of the Prabhag, Abha Pande, she said that she had written to the civic administration umpteen number of times to address several of these problems. According to her, she asked NMC officials concerned to send garbage collection vehicles in the evening to remove waste dumped on street-dividers during daytime. Admitting that the open plots ‘in dispute’, had turned into garbage dumps, she pleaded that there was no extra manpower to remove garbage from open plots. “I must state that the draft bye-laws relating to cleanliness of open plots are ready, but NMC has not taken further steps. The court should put NMC to task over this delay, which is posing risk to public health,” she said.

Asked about scant number of garbage-bins in the area, Pande said that NMC did not install the bins at appropriate spots. Besides, she alleged, private agencies and NMC did not take responsibility to clear the bins regularly. As a result, people themselves removed the bins, she added.

Nitin Sathawane, another corporator, lamented that most number of Dengue cases in the city were reported from Prabhag-21. “Despite repeated requests, we have failed in moving NMC officials to send in fogging machines as required, to counter mosquito menace. Sometimes, when were were successful in getting fogging machine sent to our Prabhag, the vehicle on which it was mounted could not move in smaller lanes as the vehicle did not have power steering. So, mosquito menace continues and people also continue to suffer,” he rued. At the same time, he said that road-side vendors and people both needed to be made aware of proper disposal of garbage.

Dr Jyoti Bhisikar-Dekate, another corporator, agreed to Sathawane. According to her, NMC employees did not spray insecticides in areas suggested by corporators. “We know where is the problem, but they simply do not co-operate unless we talk tough,” she added. Also, to improve cleanliness and sanitation in the Prabhag, she said that efforts were needed to increase awareness of the people.
Pravin Bhisikar, former Chairman of Standing Committee and brother of Dr Bhisikar-Dekate, suggested that advertisement agencies having billboards should display advertisements to create awareness about prevention of Dengue.

All the corporators are preparing affidavits to be filed as per the directions of the High Court. All of them claim to have made some effort or the other, but accused NMC officials and employees of not extending co-operation to desired extent. In this blame game, however, people continue to suffer. Considering various factors mentioned above, it is high time that all stake-holders join hands to find new solutions to challenges in the old parts of the city.