How youth groups helped transform Govandi, among Mumbai's poorest neighbourhoods | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

How youth groups helped transform Govandi, among Mumbai's poorest neighbourhoods

May 10, 2024 09:29 AM IST

Thanks to locals’ initiative, the area has two news bus stops and CCTV installed in a vulnerable area

Mumbai: In 2011, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) launched ‘Transforming the M-Ward’ project after it was found that it ranked lowest on the human development index of all the wards in the city. Scholars of the institute along with local social groups decided to set things right by classifying issues that required urgent redressal.

Mumbai, India - February 15, 2023: Artists and talented youth boys and girls participate in the 5-day Govandi Arts Festival, which aims to create a ‘safe space’ in this neglected Mumbai suburb and highlight the talent of its youth, organised by Community Design Agency (CDA) in collaboration with the British Council, at Natwar Parekh Compound, Govandi, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - February 15, 2023: Artists and talented youth boys and girls participate in the 5-day Govandi Arts Festival, which aims to create a ‘safe space’ in this neglected Mumbai suburb and highlight the talent of its youth, organised by Community Design Agency (CDA) in collaboration with the British Council, at Natwar Parekh Compound, Govandi, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)

Over a decade later, on Thursday, around 10 youth groups converged at the institute to share their know-how on leading transformation and how they became the voices of change in the ward.

Simpreet Singh, a consultant for the project, who has been working in the ward for two years, shared while project workers have been successful in making incremental changes, “many vulnerabilities identified all those years ago – such as pollution from Deonar dumpyard and the medical waste incinerator that was supposed to be moved out of Mumbai, but is still functioning and releasing fumes in the area – remain unresolved”.

“What stands out though is that youth groups are taking up initiatives themselves and working on solutions,” he said.

“The situation is very different from 10 years ago. The ward, with a predominant Muslim and migrant population, was neglected at the time. Citizens’ persistent struggles have made a difference, as authorities are more responsive now,” said Dnyaneshwar Tarwade, senior programme manager of the NGO Apnalaya, who works to empower groups in the area. “However, the process is sometimes slowed down because of limited manpower and resources,” he added.

In the years after the project was launched, various youths mostly from the slums formed the Govandi Yuva Manch – their focus was to make a list of issues plaguing in the area, raise awareness, gather support from residents and approach respective authorities to find solutions.

Around three years ago, it was found that Govandi railway station did not have an elevator or an escalator. The team gathered over 1,200 signatures of citizens and approached several railway officials, the MP and MLA of the area. Constant check-ins finally bore fruit, and work on both an escalator and elevator started over a year ago. The project is in the final stages of completion and is likely to be operational in two months.

Another issue that required redressal was the lack of any seating arrangement and shades in eight bus-stops in Shivaji Nagar. After tireless campaigning, last month authorities from BEST sanctioned fully-functional bus-stops at two spots. “Officials have said that the remaining six will have to wait as the footpath around the spots are encroached, leaving no space for bus stops,” said Tarwade.

A persistent problem that is yet to be solved is the “apathy of police chowkis in the area”. There are 10 chowkis, of which only two function full-time. “The rest function either partially or remain shut, which has a bearing on the law and order, women’s safety and substance abuse. We have been working on this and will continue to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group comprising teenaged girls who suffered obscene remarks from miscreants on their way to school in Lallubhai Compound, a resettlement colony, “went all the way to Mantralaya and submitted a letter of complaint to Deepak Kesarkar, minister for school education”. Patrolling increased along the path to the school and CCTVs were also set up.

Another group that attended the seminar was Govandi New Sangam Welfare Society, headed by Faiyaz Shiekh. The group succeeded in securing an order from Bombay high court in 2023, to shift the biomedical waste treatment plant out of the area. Last year, the Govandi Arts Festival was organised to eradicate the stigma of living here attached to the area.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

Stay updated with all the Breaking News and Latest News from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top Cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and more across India along with Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, July 21, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On