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WILL NAVI MUMBAI EVER BECOME DEBRIS FREE? – AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT

debris1Debris in Navi Mumbai is an issue that is far from over. With NMMC’s special squad for debris dissolved post monsoon, the dangers of debris inclusive of chemically hazardous and human waste in debris has surfaced. After deliberations on the subject, the NMMC Commissioner’s office has sat down to draft a comprehensive plan to make city debris free. But will Navi Mumbai ever become debris free? Debris issue has haunted Navi Mumbai for a long time. The issue again surfaced during the weekly Standing Committee meet when Commissioner Vijay Nahata himself raised the issue of debris. Prior to this meeting, members had returned a proposal drafted by the administration for debris check and the Commissioner wanted to discuss the same with the members. The Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik called for the administration to take a drastic step. Following this, members discussed the subject in length. However there is more to the issue than what meets the eye. NMTV News has been reporting on the politics of debris time and again. We bring to you some of the major reports covered by us that reflect on how grave the issue is. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #1 In February last year, NMTV News aired a report from the under construction site of Oriental College at Sector 12, Vashi. There were allegations that debris from the Oriental College site was allegedly being dumped in the nallah. We had met the then Vashi Ward Officer Balkrishna Patil on the issue who personally examined the site. Sources had informed NMTV News that despite their vigilance squad and aggressive campaign against people illegally dumping debris in the city, the reason why Oriental College was alleged overlooked was because it belongs to former CIDCO Chairman Prof. Javed Khan. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #2 Soon after that in March 2007, NMTV News highlighted the systematic destruction of mangroves at Vashi village towards the other end of the village. We had captured exclusive visuals of trucks coming at the mangrove site and dumping debris in broad daylight in an area where rampant encroachment is taking place even today. Sources alleged that nearly 10 acres of area coming under the coastal regulation zone covered with dense mangroves has been converted into an open plot. And despite the illegal and unlawful activities continuing for over a year, no action was initiated against the violators who allegedly had the blessings of local corporators Dashrath Bhagat. NMTV News spoke to one of the drivers of the dumpers and asked him who has asked him to dump the debris there. We also questioned that despite strict laws why was he violating them. The driver went on to confess that they were dumping during the day but the violations happen much more in the night. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #3 NMTV News reported about debris being dumped in Sector 26, Vashi. Residents allege that the dumping activities take place late in the night by JCBs that also indulge in leveling the grounds. There were heaps of atleast 20 feet high on 10 acres of land stretch. Locals added that complaints to NMMC, CIDCO and the police have proved to be of no help so far. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #4 Illegal encroachment and debris dumping continues to be a major issue in Airoli. Even today, trucks from Mumbai come unchecked and dump debris in the node. Despite NMMC being able to nab a few violators, it failed to control the menace. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #5 And reports on debris being dumped ahead of the Vashi toll Naka on the highway have never stopped. This is one area where NMMC has always proved to be a failure. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #6 And now take a look at how corporators who stand up and speak against controlling the debris menace are often only fooling the general public (SHOW M K MADHVI HERE). Take a look at this site of this debris dumped opposite the crematorium in sector 19, Airoli as seen in these visuals are illegal. And this is being done at the behest of the local corporator. We aren’t making these allegations but the driver did who without any hesitance claimed that he had the approval of NCP corporator M. K. Madhvi for dumping debris on this area that comes under the CRZ. The fact that the police came to stop the violation, endorses the CRZ violation that was taking place here. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #7 And reports of debris dumped in broad daylight and during nights on Palm Beach Road are a permanent problem. Anytime one can see massive debris dumped anywhere on the long stretch of this mini Expressway inconveniencing commuters. * “DEBRIS MENACE” – REPORT #8 The list of violators isn’t just corporators and outsiders, but often NMMC’s own contractors. When the Vashi ward office had seized two dumpers of Pratibha Industries that were illegally dumping debris in the node, it was an example of this. Even today, the situation has not changed. Debris dumping goes on unchecked in the city. In October last year, Thane Guardian Minister had made the suggestion of floating a plan of dumping debris in dead quarries that would help the city remain debris free and also help scientific re-develop the hills. However, till date the plan to do this has not been put into practice as neither CIDCO nor NMMC have received any such instructions from the Environment Ministers office. Corporators for their vested interests pressurize NMMC as they want debris to be dumped either to make open plot for vote banks in the form of slums like at Vashi village or for commercial exploitation or to make way to get NMMC infrastructure projects in their wards. Even Commissioner spoke about the political intervention they face while taking action against violators in this week’s Standing Committee meet. At the end of the deliberations, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik stated that debris was a grave issue that needed better coordination between the TPO and ward office. The Chairman said that on behalf of all corporators, they give the Commissioner the complete rights to make a stringent plan to control debris. Commissioner Vijay Nahata assured the members of making complete use of the blank cheque that the Standing Committee gave him to make Navi Mumbai a zero debris city. Speaking to NMTV News gave a peek of the comprehensive plan he is designing. When we questioned him whether the city can be made debris free he had this to say. Evidently, the administration is not completely confident that the city can be made debris free but they definitely intend to work on it. Though the Commissioner is committed of making the city debris free but the greed of corporators to establish slums for vote banks and create land for various infrastructure projects may de-rail the plans of the administration to make Navi Mumbai a debris free city. Zeba Warsia – NMTV News.

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