Dominated by slum encroachments, illegal construction and corruption, Kurla — which falls under L Ward— has shown an absence of planning in the past five years. Grappling with these issues, the area now houses some of the Mumbai’s most dreary and most neglected areas.
L Ward, which spans across areas of Kurla, Sakinaka, Chunabhatti, Jari Mari and parts of LBS Road, is surrounded by Tansa Pipeline, Vikhroli and Ghatkopar Hills on the east side, the Mithi river on the west and Sion Creek on the south. Its northern boundary is formed by Powai.
The ward spreads across 15.88 sq km and has the highest number of slum settlements in the city. According to Census 2001, Kurla has 232 notified slum settlements. Slum population — 6.59 lakh — comprises nearly 85 per cent of the total population of 7.78 lakh.
Kurla’s slum areas have managed to make headlines often, whether it is the Nehru Nagar rape and murder case, landslides and building collapses in Kasaiwada, Quresh Nagar, Jari Mari and Kajupada after July 26, 2005 deluge, or the mysterious seepage of an oil-like substance from beneath shanties in June 2011.
The area is said to be a hotbed for illegal constructions. The data with civic body shows there are over 45,000 structures in Kurla and Sakinaka, of which BMC does not have a record.
Kurla has the highest number of dilapidated buildings (94) and witnesses landslides and collapses almost every monsoon. “L Ward is one of the largest and one of the most badly maintained wards in the city. Full of dilapidated buildings and illegal constructions, the area has only one civic hospital. A plot reserved for a hospital at 90 feet Road in Sakinaka was encroached upon. There is not a single degree college in the entire ward,” said RTI activist Anil Galgali, who is also the chairman of NGO Athak Seva Sangh.