Situated along the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, Kaushambi is one of the busiest localities of Ghaziabad with Kaushambi bus depot, Anand Vihar interstate bus terminal and Kaushambi metro station situated in the area. However, for the residents of this locality, proximity to Delhi is more of a disadvantage than an advantage.
With three public transport stations/depots in the vicinity, the air and noise pollution levels are high in the locality, residents say. They have to use air purifiers in their homes in order to breathe pollution-free air. Residents say they are unable to sleep at night because of the excessive noise caused by pressure horns of buses. Apart from this, open garbage dumps, encroachments, choked sewers and damaged electric poles also create inconvenience to residents.
Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) developed Kaushambi in 1990. GDA constructed 25 multi-storey towers with 3,000 flats in the locality. There are 500 other residential plots in the area with three or two-storey buildings constructed by private builders.
GDA handed over Kaushambi to the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) for maintenance in 2004.
Open garbage dumps have cropped up at various places in the locality, emanating appalling stench. As cattle and other stray animals surround such dumps, residents find it difficult to walk through the streets.
“These garbage dumps not only reduce the aesthetic quality of the locality, but are also a source of various infections. Even the green belt adjacent to the Kaushambi metro station has not been spared,” Manish Jain, general secretary of Kausahmbi Apartments Residents’ Welfare Association (KARWA), said.
In order to tackle such civic issue, KARWA had filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year. The tribunal had ordered the removal of such garbage dumps, especially from the green belt.
According to officials, the work is in progress.
“The garbage dump will be removed from the green belt as soon as possible,” Dr RK Yadav, GMC’s city health officer, said.
Residents complain that wide roads in the area have been reduced to narrow lanes because of encroachments by hawkers and vendors. The petition filed by KARWA in the green court also stated that encroachments on the Dr Burman Road in the locality is one of the polluting factors.
Traffic jams are frequent because of the lack of space on the road. The encroachers have left very little space for vehicles. With the increase in traffic jams, pollution levels also rise because of vehicular emissions,” VK Mittal, president of KARWA, said.
A senior traffic official, meanwhile, said that anti-encroachment drives are carried out in the area regularly.
“We frequently conduct anti-encroachment operations here and are also planning one soon,” Rajesh Kumar, superintendent of police (traffic), Ghaziabad.
The untreated waste is generally dumped by sweepers working in commercial areas as these areas still do not have any sewer connectivity. Roads are filled with overflowing sewage. We fear what will happen when monsoon comes,” AK Sharma, a resident of Shivalik Tower, said.
On May 13, the NGT bench had ordered the municipal corporation and GDA to provide complete sewer connectivity in the area. The civic bodies have to file a survey report for the purpose.
“We are complying with the directions of the court and the survey is being done,” DK Sinha, additional municipal commissioner, Ghaziabad, said.
Residents fear electric poles that are slanting almost 45 degrees may fall on them any moment.
“The electric poles are rusted at base. The poles are ready to fall any second,” Vinay Maheshwari, secretary of KARWA, said.
“We will get the situation checked and the poles will be changed soon,” Sinha said.
“Living in Kaushambi has proved to be deteriorating to our health because of the increased pollution here,” said Shivraj Singh, treasurer of KARWA.
“We have to wear face masks whenever we go out for morning walks. Every third house in the locality has an air purifier as well,” said GK Damani, a resident of Dhaulahgiri Tower
“Encroachments not only on the main road but also on the internal streets has restricted our movement around the locality,” said Geeta Jain, resident of Ganga Tower.
“We have been fighting for our right to live a pollution free and dignified life in the courts since the past two years. The authorities should have done their work from the beginning,” said VK Mittal, president of KARWA.