‘Will increase number of loos at Aarey’

Following two leopard attacks on children on Tuesday, one of which was fatal in the Aarey milk colony in Goregaon, the local Sena leaders were in for severe criticism from the press. However, Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar and local corporator Jitendra Valvi answered a volley of questions put to them by this newspaper on the human-wildlife conflict.
Speaking on the issue, Mr Waikar said, “The Aarey Colony is spread across 3,062 acres. Out of that, there are 27 slums spread across 180-acres of land. If the area is redeveloped in accordance with the state rules, the residents of 27 slums can live in buildings made on 30 acres of land and the rest the 150 acres can be used by the state.”
“I had taken up this issue with Ratnakar Gaikwad who was the then chief secretary, but till date they are ignoring the issue. Another issue I took up was of constructing a boundary wall between Aarey and SGNP to end human-wildlife conflict, which will take barely `10 crore. But, they don’t want to spend that money either,” said Mr Waikar.
When asked about increasing the number of toilets for slums, Mr. Valvi said, “We will be increasing the number of public toilets in the colony. First, it used to take a lot of time to gain a NOC from the forest department to build these toilets, but now the procedure is swift. We are finding tribal areas where more toilets are required.”
On providing electricity, Mr Valvi replied, “We had put up solar street lights but we are unable to maintain them. There have been incidents of theft as well. We need to government to look after the maintenance.”
When asked what measures are being taken to curb such incidents, he said, “We are putting up posters or banners in the Aarey colony to create awareness on the issue.”

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