Monday, February 16, 2015

The Hills of Artist Village

 Opening my newspaper today I read this news item which appeared in The Times of India. I sat reading it, thinking, “Good, at last, somebody has taken note.” For a long time I have been watching the temple builders encroaching on forest land in Sector 8 of Belapur where I live. It was disconcerting to say the least. Whole areas were flattened, trees uprooted, the pristine nature of the area was under threat. On top of it, there are periodic festivals in these temples in which thousands attend. There is playing of music, eating of food, and general revelry. Then the plastic is discarded in the locality to degrade after a thousand odd years.

What a shame! I go everyday to this part of Sector 8 for a walk in the morning. This is one of the biggest bio-diverse areas in India and it's slowly being encroached upon. (It's here I once saw a cobra raise it's hood at me!) It’s customary for me, these days, to turn a blind eye because of my health problems. However, the religious zeal of these constructions are not lost on me. The fervour, the panache, the loud music, which would play for the entire day, somehow discomfited me. Who am I to complain? Some of my earlier complaints fell on deaf ears. Can one person fight these irregularities? I am sure I would have been silenced. I am something of a sanyasi these days – with long hair to match – having renounced my earlier activist role in the area. (I am the one who got the roads repaired, introduced postal services, and even lighting in the area, or, so I suppose!) Ahem!

Please don’t laugh. What is also shocking is the number of huts that come up in 8B area. It has mushroomed into a big colony and no effort is being made to dislodge it. There it nestles on the foothills, spewing smoke the entire day. No doubt, the smoke comes from cutting down trees in the area. Crime has increased in the area and there are a lot of unlawful activities happening in the slums.

Now for some action from the authorities, if you please!

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