A suburbs prima that's no more

Bungalows arranged in a row, old villas, gothic churches and green open spaces — this is the look that the queen of Mumbai's suburbs earlier sported. Cut to present. The H-West ward, comrprising Bandra West, Khar West and Santacruz West, paints a picture with uneven, unplanned and haphazard constructions, encroached open spaces and congested roads lined with hawkers.

According to a recent internal report of BMC, the H-West ward, that has a population of 3.2 lakh and 78,246 households, has the highest number of unauthorised and illegal buildings constructed by registered developers in the non-slum areas. Of the total 97 illegal buildings identified, 70 are in this ward, a report compiled by BMC's Removal of Encroachments department says.

Residents say that with a strong nexus existing between civic officials and private builders in the ward, the commercial development — legal and illegal — is lucrative for the officials. As a result, in spite of repeated protests against illegal constructions, it is still mushrooming in the area.

Anandini Thakoor, chairperson of H-West federation — a citizens' association, said, "While the civic administration has turned a blind eye to illegal constructions, the collaboration between the builders and local politicians has resulted in haphazard illegal structures."

Home to many celebrities and amongst the highly coveted locations for restaurants and pubs, the area has often been in news for repeated demolition drives by BMC to remove illegal eateries here.

While illegal extensions of the popular Indigo Deli in Bandra were demolished by BMC in June, 2012, the civic administration had taken action against four other high-profile restaurants in March 2012. Earlier, BMC had razed 20 eateries in Carter Road in Bandra and forced 20 other eateries to be closed for three days for operating without a licence in 2010.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.