Synopsis of the proceedings at the Annual Function of the Nepean Sea Road Citizens’ Forum

AGMSynopsis of the proceedings at the Annual Function of the Nepean Sea Road Citizens’ Forum held on Sunday July 28, 2013 at 11.30 a.m.
Welcome

The Chairperson Mrs. Gita Mirchandani welcomed the Chief Guest Mr. Mangal Prabhat Lodha, MLA, the 2 Corporators Mrs. Jyotsna Mehta and Mr. Anil Singh and all invitees and members to the Annual Function. She stated that the Forum owed a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Lodha who has assisted and encouraged the Forum in almost all its activities over the last several years.


Introduction
The Hon. Secretary Mr. N P Gidwani said a few words about the activities of the Forum and in particular in the year 2012/13 which, inter alia, included:
(1) After the last AGM the BMC appointed a Technical Auditor and based on the Report of the Technecal Auditor parts of the road were redone. Though more improvements would have been desirable after consideration the Governing Council felt that not much more would in fact be done by the BMC and hence the status was accepted. Overall the Governing Council was satisfied that the work done was above the acceptable level. Mr. Gidwani emphasised that though the press was full of reports of pot holes all over Mumbai, it should be noted that there were no potholes on Nepean Sea Road and no water logging!
(2) Piped Gas. This was a comedy of mix ups. Finally all permission had been obtained to lay pipes from around Cumballa Hill Hospital (where gas supplies were actually available) to St Stephens’ Church to connect to the new pipes on a part of Nepean Sea Road. But in March it was discovered that a dispute between BMC and Mahanagar Gas in Chembur had stopped all work. The Governing Council then managed to persuade the BMC to delink the Chembur problem with the work on Nepean Sea Road and again all permissions were on hand in May but as per the BMC rules no new digging of roads can be done after May 15 due to the monsoon season so again the laying of pipes has been delayed. Attempts will be made in October to get this work finally done.
(3) On hawkers there was no progress.
(4) On traffic and parking of Trucks outside PDP the Governing Council had been all the way up to the top and only last week had a meeting with the Commissioner of Police. Though promises have been made to find a solution these were not convincing.
(5) Mobile Towers. The Forum was supporting the efforts made by Mr. Prakash Munshi of the “India For Safe Environment” (IFSE) in trying to control the indiscriminate spread of mobile towers so as to safe guard against the ill effects of radiation. Though there may not be too much time left to hear the views of Mr. Munshi and the work done he would be available to answer questions
(6) Volunteers. Though there was a lot more which could be done there were insufficient volunteers. Many were willing to make suggestions and criticise but almost none were willing to come forward and work.
Mr. Gidwani then went on the say that though the Governing Council will continue to do what it has done so far in trying to solve day to day problems of the road, hawkers, traffic, etc., it was time to think ahead. Hence Mr. Rahul Kadri, an eminent Architect, will be making a presentation on “Vision 2020”. Part A of this presentation was implementable without any doubt. Part B was also implementable but with a lot more effort, a lot more time, a lot more permissions and a lot more money. Some may even feel that Part B is a dream but he emphasised that one must dream and achieve those dreams.
Presentation by Mr. Rahul Kadri
The slide presentation lasted about 25 minutes and comprised of 2 parts, namely:

Part A: This covered:
(1) Improvements in the footpaths – level and depth to make them more walker friendly, tree guards which will be in level with the footpaths and which allowed pedestrians to walk close to the trees yet allowed the trees to breath; making the footpaths at the same level when crossing an entrance to a building (thus the cars will go over a bump), etc.
(2) Street furniture of the likes of dustbins, benches, etc.,
(3) Special and standardised kiosk and trolleys for hawkers (only licensed hawkers)
(4) Pedestrian crossings to be raised to the level of the footpaths so that the pedestrians walk at the same level while cars have to go over a bump thereby ensuring that cars slow down
(5) Street numbering
(6) The above include an estimate of costs.

Part B:

The long term vision of a promenade from Banganga to Mahalaxmi. Mr. Kadri explained in detail how this would not only be a recreation area but also environmentally friendly and would include a lot of greenery and water harvesting as well. Ball park cost figures were also given.

Mr. Kadri emphasised that the promenade would also fit into the coastal road, if ever the Government would decide to go ahead with that project

Questions & Answers on Vision 2020 presentation

There was a lot of applause and congratulations expressed by all present who felt that both Part A and Part B must be implemented. Mr. Mahendra Sanghi while congratulating Mr. Kadri said he would lend his whole hearted support to all aspects of the project. Both the Corporators Mr. Anil Singh and Mrs. Jyotsna Mehta were also very enthused and said that they would lend their total support for implementation

Address by the Chief Guest Mr. Mangal Prabhat Lodha

Mr. Lodha complemented the Forum and its members for the spirit in which they had worked for the benefit of the residences. He added that he had never seen an organisation which worked with no ulterior agenda and totally non political in nature.

On the presentation his views were that Part A must be implemented immediately and he would personally accompany representatives of the forum to any authority that needed to be involved so that all permissions and support is obtained. He said he would sit with the Governing Council and work out a plan of action. He added that the estimated costs too were very reasonable and hence funding should not be a problem

On Part B clearly it was ambitious but he was while heartedly behind it and it will receive his unstinted support. He felt that the issue in Part B would need to be taken up with Government rather than BMC. In his view the coastal road would be cleared and hence the promenade should be blended into it.

Mr. Lodha advised that all long term issues should be also submitted to the planning authorities in the Government as the development plan for the next 20 years was now under preparation and hence provision should be made in the development plan for some of the issues in the presentation

On the routine issues Mr. Lodha views were:

1. Trucks – these have to be removed and he himself along with the corporators would oversee this. He suggested that as a trial the Forum could retain some wardens at its cost and with the support of the authorities progress would be made. He would also ensure that there would be no untoward incident with the wardens being physically harmed. The general feeling was that this was a good idea and the Forum should find funds to undertake this for the next 12 months at least.
2. Hawkers –again this issue has to be tackled and again he will lend support Mr. Naik Rupani suggested that the meeting pass a unanimous resolution on the issue of Trucks and Mobile Towers/Antennae. This resolution should then be sent to our MP Mr. Milind Deora and Mr. Lodha, MLA for their support and assistance. Accordingly it was proposed by Mr. Nanik Rupani and seconded by Mr. _____________ and unanimously resolved as follows:
RESOLVED THAT the Nepean Sea Road Citizens’ Forum and all Residents of Nepean Sea Road and its by lanes do appeal to the Government of India, Government of Maharashtra, Police, Brihanmumbai Corporation and all Authorities to heed the views of the Citizens on regulating mobile towers/antennae in order to safe guard citizens health and not just follow the powerful lobby of the Mobile Service Providers”
“FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Nepean Sea Road Citizens’ Forum and all Residents of Nepean Sea Road and its by lanes do appeal to the Government of India, Government of Maharashtra, Police, Brihanmumbai Corporation to remove on a permanent basis the Trucks that are illegal parked outside the Priyadarshini Park on both the north and south bound carriageways and all illegal hawkers”
Vote of thanks.
The Chairperson Mrs. Gita Mirchandani thanked the Chief Guest Mr. Lodha for spearing his time and his ever readiness to support the Forum; the Corporators for their support; the Asst Commissioner D Ward of the BMC and all its officers; the Police; Mr. Prakash Munshi of the IFSC; other NGOs with whom the Forum has associated/worked; the Committee of the Tahnee Heights Society for the use of the Hall and last but not least the Members of the Forum for their support
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.
All present were invited for a light lunch.

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