For residents of Koper Khairane, CIDCO had once developed a stretch along the holding pond in Sector -14. Later, this stretch was named Chowpatti and was meant to be used by residents for recreational purpose. However, to the dismay of residents the possibility of the same is remote.
Pratik K, one of the residents informs, “For residents of Sectors 11, 12 and 14 the holding pond was developed for recreational purpose. The place was beautified with a joggers’ track, benches to sit and proper streetlight for ensuring safety. But the work was stopped midway and as days passed by all existing infrastructure started deteriorating. The benches broke, streetlight poles fell and tiles of joggers’ tracks starting disappearing. Residents stopped coming to the spot and the whole area became deserted. Soon, mangroves took over the area and it started sinking”.
Avinash Sharma another resident joins in, “Following persistent demand from residents, NMMC announced redeveloping the area as Koper Khairane Chowpatti. In February this year, the proposal was passed by Standing Committee under the chairmanship of Sandeep Naik. It was declared that redevelopment work would include recarpeting of road, installation of curbstones, interlocking blocks, development of a garden, construction of a sitting shed, benches and jetty. The contract was given to Ajwani Infrastructure Private Limited an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh and the time limit given was three months.
It has been almost four months since the day contract was given. However, to the dismay of residents there is no sign of work being initiated. Gul Waswani, representative the concerned company informs, “We have been asked by NMMC officials to stop the work during monsoon and once the rainy season is over we will start the work.”
NMMC Executive Engineer Harish Chichariya has a different story to tell. He informs, “The work of redevelopment has been stopped due to mangroves”.
As per law no mangroves can be cut as they are vanguards for stopping water entering into the city and play a major role in restoring ecological balance.
Deputy Engineer Shrirang Kapse explains, “The work will be initiated as soon as monsoon season is over as we are not going to touch any mangroves and only
the required facelift as described in the proposal will be undertaken”.
Meanwhile, residents are not sure if it is the end to their dream. No one knows when they will get to see the so-called Chowpatti for residents of Koper Khairane.
—Jaspal Singh Naol