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Interview with Aftab Siddique

Aftab Siddique am born and brought up in Khar. She did her schooling from Duruelo Convent High School and R.D.National College. Aftab is a teacher by profession from last 27 years.
She says about her job as a teacher
As a teacher, we impart a specific syllabus but when kids face practical difficulties in real life, they are unaware of how to deal with them. Not only the children but as adults, individuals, professionals we too are unaware of our rights, Dos and Dont’s. This is what inspired me to contribute time to the community. Create awareness, bring people together , help, live together as one.
Aftab is very attached to Bandra & Khar. Before becoming an activist, she used to unaware of BMC Ward , Police stations or any other government office. However after working with ALM, Citi Space and Federation, She met many like minded people who were very experienced. .
Here is interview we did with her, do read below to know more.

1. How long have you been an activist? Do you take up issues on in your ALM or any issues in Bandra ?

It’s almost a decade , I am a social activist.I have been awarded by Bombay Catholic Sabha, H-W Federation, NDTV for my good work for contributing in bringing a change in community. and nominated by Mumbai Mirror as Top Ten Mumbai Heroes. I work not only with reference to my alm issues but across city BMC, Police, SRA , MHADA etc for all the distressed genuine people who need help or want to be a part to learn and contribute to the community.

2. Could you tell us what projects you have undertaken as an activist in the past and what have been their consequences ?

Various projects, I have taken till now.

a.) Deleted more than 2,700 names from Bandra Constituency of voters who didn’t exist .

b) Exposed 4000 crores SRA scam in Santacruz W Daulat Nagar. Already case is in criminal Esplanade court with help of EOW and lately an inquiry by Housing Secretary initiated with help of Hon CM .Almost 895 people from 17 years not rehabed and almost more than 150 residential and commercial sale buyers who paid 45-75 lakhs have not got possession. More than 125 crores is outstanding dues.

c.) Exposed the Maulana Azad Minority Scam which was bungled by Anti Corruption bureau in connivance with the accused . Inspite inquiry reopened by ACB Mr Nangre Patil other successors linger. Reason best known to them

d.) Got Educational Open plot 1751 sq mtrs on 15th & 33rd junction evicted in 2016 after pursue with Adtnl MC in 2012, lately learnt BMC has given it back after pressure from Bandra MLA.

e.) In December 2016, got BMC to reenter the Balgandharva Theatre but once again under Bandra MLA pressure it was given back . Issue now with Lok Ayukt where Hon Lok Ayukt has questioned MC in various breaches and flouts wilfully ignored. Waiting for MC to reply. Next hearing on 23/ 03/17 .

f.) Fernandez Chawl in Old Khar in 2016 got it signed for 27 families who were in deep trouble because of no proper procedures were followed and alot of violations in submissions. Project is initiated but cases we have not withdrawn as they are compoundable cases .

There was too much of political and Police pressure. Atrocities of police due to political pressure is very high in Bandra , Khar. This is not accepted by us.

g.) Lost files and missing files . Got an order in 2009 from Lok Ayukt to regenerate files of Mumbai City . The order directed BMC to upload all old and new files on BMC site, register FIR for the files which are lost.

h.) Formed a like minded group with people of H E/W and K (W) citizens where unanimous agenda is decided and pursued bimonthly or as on when its need of the hour.

i.) Opposed Road Events ( Equal Streets) staying 19 days in Khar Police station as cops refused to help.The event caused inconvenience to residents confining residents and 16 hospitals and nursing homes. at a stretch of 3 kilometres. Service charges not paid to government. With support of Mumbai Police managed to cancel it. Last event in 2016, Mumbai Police ensured service charges was paid.

j.) Since 2011 ,Opposed illegal vendors during Ramadan in Kharie Village old Khar. Our representation to Adtnl CP was considered unlawful and under political pressure FIR was filed. Court cracked a whip on police for falsely accusing and I was acquitted in 2014. My agitation continued and ……

Last year , Khar police filed FIR on shop owners who put their ware on road and against anon people who set up boxes with help of local political karyakartas.

k.) Opposed poster banners and defacement on road . Under political pressure had faced FIR but was accepted as we had opposed in street with police who accompanied the protest March. Hon Home Minster Mr Jayant Patil and Mr Majeed Memon helped.

l.) In 2012-13 , Proposed the basement parking below Patwardhan Garden. In 2014, Jt CP traffic also gave his consent.I filed the same in DP revision in 2014 too. Presently, it is approved by BMC.

m.) In 2012-13 Proposed another full fledged Municipal Hospital opposite Bandra Rly Colony , SV road for people in HW along with Dialysis centre, OPD, OT, beds , Scan and pathology facility. Last year a five floor building has been approved. alm144 has received letter for BMC. .

n.) Proposed swapping of Khar Danda Police plot with present Khar Police station.Present place for police station is small and on lease. No space for citizens facilitation, filing documents, ATS is operated on road. The same has been filed in DP reservation suggestion, objections.West Region Police has also filed from their end. Police file in CP office, Kaksh- 8.

o.) Got the Mahatma Phule Hami Yojna room from political clutches and requested BMC to hand over to Khar Police .Now one sees Khar Police beat chowki nos- 1 on SV road.

p.) Next to Khar Police beat chowkie ,the open space garden got it redeveloped with BMC H/W funds with multipurpose play installed. Earlier, there was illegal garage being operated .

q.) Appealing from 2012 to all concerned BMC authorities for allowing children to play( Football,Cricket & other free play outdoor sports) in the Patwardhan Garden 14,571 sq mtrs open space Mid Circumference. There are no open space in 3 km for kids to play not only in H/W but also in H-EAST. After inspection, DMC Zn-III in 2014 has put up a report in favour of citizens. Last month we had signature campaign on this too. Almost more than 500 students from vicinity colleges and residents have signed.

r). Answered in question 3 below.

Presently, BMC has no plans on illegal hawkers and compound encroachments in 7 malls in 33rd road.

In Jan-Feb 2017,15 days residents and stall owners sat in Silent Protest against BMC demanding FIR against BMC.

Yesterday, too we filed a complaint against BMC for playing mischief, instigating people, creating riot like situation, damaging public property.

s.) Helped in Reunion of a female with her family in Andheri W, ( DN Nagar )where she was trapped in Saudi . Through agents in City, she was employed as nurse and once she reached Saudi , she was made to do odd jobs & suffered a lot of ill treatment. This was with help of His Excellency Mr Ahmed Jawed. Ex CP of Mumbai Police.

t. )With help if Sneha (NGO), Located a young lady who fled from the torture of her husband. Family disowned her. She fled from Muscat and is now living in a woman’s shelter home. She has started working to make ends meet.Issue related to Amboli Police stn.

u.) Got may over due officers, internally rotating officers transferred from BMC and Police. alm strongly objects officers patronizing politicians.

v.) From last 6 years a lot of individuals in their individual capacity donate books & basic amenities for poor deserving people.

w.) Disproportionate assets of Bandra Ex Councilor is still on in ACB.

x.) 7 illegal constructions inquiry in ACB is still on .

y.) SIC fined BMC BF Officer in 2008.Rs 25,000 for not providing information on time. 1st officer to be fined in BMC BF dept .

z.) alm144 with help of DMC Spl pursue initiated in Railway authorities paying fees to all hoardings to BMC.
& now we are also pursuing with agreement with Dairy Commissioner and BMC for all Aarey, Aarey Sarita.From last 60 years BMC has no agreement with Dairy Commissioner. Only ground rent of monthly fee Rs 150 is being collected.

3. What do you think about the current project of underground shopping mall at Patwardhan Park and what would be the eventual fall out of the hawkers?

From Dec 2015, Residents in support of licence stalls are having a strong fight with BMC opposing the mindless beautification proposal of linking road Khar opposite National College .The proposal is 100 crores and not approved by any authority but BMC wants to shift 167 licence stalls on road . Underground shopping mall is out of question as it’s unsafe not only for stalls but also shoppers as Mumbai City is in red alert most of the time. It will be a very costly affair for stall owners . Cost if A/C etc. Health hazard too. Concept of basement pedestrian walk of shopping plaza is a failure in Mumbai City.

 

4. Could you tell us, about your life in Bandra and what do you particularly think about bandra and some of your favourite places in Bandra?

My favourite place in H-W where I love to relax or just sit with my friends chatting or eating is at Carter Road. I’m a non vegetarian and relish food from quite a few restaurants. Fortunately H-W ward is blessed with many restaurants .

I am a foodie but not a party animal. I’m an introvert. I love to spend time with my family, friends and close associates which I hardly get time.

5. What are some of the changes you would like to see in Bandra which doesn’t conflict with the current governments vision of development?

The changes that I would like to see in Bandra, Khar, Santacruz is :-
I had carried a lot of Silent Protest agitation against BMC and Police high handedness demanding quality and timely services.

1.) Politicians should stop interfering with every government work and accept citizens perspective positively. Politicians seek help from alms and associations but both bureaucrats and politicians don’t like them and are always opposing in alm meetings.

2.) Curb encouraging illegal work.

3.) Greenery seems to be disappearing from HW ward. Our important main roads have started to look concrete.

4.) Organise Sporting Events in Public Spaces (RG and PG) for all age groups.

5.) Remove that major Bandra skywalk obstructing traffic.

6.) Presently all redevelopment projects in Bandra specially Khar and Santacruz ( W) are getting open space condition. In near future, how will roads be widened.

7.) There has to be a soft approach of BMC and specially Police officers. The West Region Police seems accountable to no one and is turning to be a shelter home for anti-socials. People are being assaulted , proper cases are not being registered. Every issues Police has started to ask people for sections and IPC or directing people to move to court.

8.) Install CCTV in sensitive and crime areas such as Linking Road KFC Jn , SV road at Khar Traffic junction, Lucky junction.Cameras installed by cops are not accurately focused.Seems deliberate. No proper PWD to maintain.

Police has a huge back log of inquiries. In hurry they end up diluting issues.

9.) Too many VIP bandobast in Bandra & Khar has to be stopped. Why so may Police staff is in Special duty of politicians. eg Narayan Rane , Sushil Kumar Shinde etc. When is Police going to serve a common man.

10.)I want youth to not only participate in organising programmes but also be a part of the system. Help being eyes and ears for good governance.

11.) I want the Gazdhar Bandh area, Daulat Nagar area and Road attached to Bandra Rly stn to look better. One can’t believe that in heart of city such areas and antisocial joints exist.

12.) Improve or Redevelop the Railway quarters on SV road , Police quarters at Carter Road. The conference room of Adtnl CP on ground floor.

13.) Improve all Municipal Markets.Implement Vendor Policy pending from 2014 so that people do not suffer and are not deprived of livelihood. This will make Roads free from illegal vending. (Loacl Police is responsible to put illegal vendors).

14.) Make parking slots or space for all heavy vehicles defacing SV road.

15.) Uplift Municipal schools infrastructure and standards. We have 7-8 major slums in HW ward and around 7 big Municipal schools.

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