... the second time around. This Saturday, folks from Ramnagar Colony, where I reside, had organized a walk to raise awareness and protest against the encroachment upon Ramnadi (mostly by construction companies). The plan was to walk alongside the river bed around 7:00 in the morning. The Ramnagar Colony Mandal had contacted the press and some municipal authorities. Considering their availability, the timing was changed to 11:00 am. Most of the participants were aged 50 or above. Considering the summer heat, we decided to use cars instead.
We drove to the adjoining highway and then went down the fork to the left where Anshul developers are constructing a residential complex right on top of the river itself. Their project description reads "Conveniently located at the junction of RamNadi and Mumbai-Bangalore Bypass." Located at the junction... my ass.
The next stop was the bridge beside DSK Ranwaara straddled by Rainbow Housing and the Goel Ganga group on each side. Their projects are not only endangering the ecosystem, but their future customers lives as well. Isn't it a simple fact that soil under or adjoining a river is unstable? How can the foundations of these constructions be strong enough for the buildings to survive even the next 5 / 10/ 20 years, especially with flash floods like we experienced last year? What are they thinking? Is this a forest where tribals can shit in the river and hope that their waste will be carried far away and wouldn't bother them? Rainbow Housing does not even mention the water body in their project description. Guess they assume that there won't be able left when they're done with the place.
The last stop was the rear side of Sai Kamal complex, which is separated from Praj Industries by Ramnadi. This a company that offers "water and wastewater treatment systems for customers, worldwide." By shitting in their own backyard. A few weeks ago, they were caught dumping debris in Ramnadi, which runs through their own backyard. As of now, it seems like they are cooperating and have expressed willingness to clean their act.
We did not do much other than walk around and chant slogans... something I'm not really a fan of, but we can't do much else until we gather the support of enough folks to move the responsible people in civic administration to do their jobs. Some experts explained the situation to folks who were new and mentioned other similar ongoing struggles in other parts of India. The press was invited to cover the event. The corporator, who was invited and reminded about the event over the phone, did not turn up. He missed the last even too, when these folks protested against praj Industries. The next action item is to get more people to involve and speak up. We're hoping to build the numbers and the momentum of this struggle so that the authorities take requisite action before this monsoon. This is a tad overtly ambitious, but we can hope, can't we?
Some folks have written about this elsewhere and the news articles should come out soon. Will update this post when I have the links and pictures.