Inside Story September 2017

Pellentesque erat arcu

Buffalo Sheds share limelight
in Powai’s bylanes.


The road junction leading out of  Powai into Vikhroli is considered one of Powai’s most sacred sites as it has numerous temples, and crematory grounds as well as cow sheds. Juxtapositioned among these backdrops are numerous restaurants and residential shelters too.

 But it’s long known as one of its dirtiest too, both the left and right lanes at the junction of Powai and Vikhroli come under the ‘S’ ward jurisdiction. These bilanes do not have many private toilets, and sometimes people resort to open defecation . Garbage piles are seen at every interval on the roads, as slum dwellers and hutments lack the civic sense to use the dustbins, most of the garbage gets dumped over other real estate boundary walls or illegal dump heaps around the corners. On a routine inspection of garbage sites in Powai, it was found that several commercial and industrial outlets also exist among these hutments, adding their waste to the garbage heaps around.
The civic health department is looking at counting buffalo and cow sheds inside hutments and slum areas in the city. How far will this count improve the status of cows in the city is yet to be seen. But believe it or not we have many cow and buffalo sheds around in Powai. Their well-being is of utmost importance to the local owners and they are kept in good conditions.
Although the lanes are known for sprawling slums and inadequate sanitation, the cows are kept with utmost care. Many residents keep buffaloes to supply the locals thriving trade in pure milk, sweets and milk products, but a lack of space means the livestock defecate and urinate in the open. Bikes and rickshaws pass, attempting to dodge the thick puddles. School children do the step dance while passing them, of course women lining up to collect water at odd hours face the most music.

Every resident knows that composting is now compulsory in all housing societies and that no wet waste garbage trucks will ply. If any progress is being made towards composting pits in Powai, a set of ‘Public composting pits” should be first installed in public areas of the hutments and slum areas to better achieve garbage management for the uneducated.

 In other underprivileged zones more trash cans, introducing nighttime street sweeping and starting a garbage disposal schedule for the trucks in the labyrinths of the Powai hidden behind the glitz and glamour ,will truly spell success for the composting efforts.

(Elsie Gabriel is an award winning post graduate certified Green Teacher and Environmental Law expert. With twenty years of writing experience she has travelled to remote corners of the earth researching, photographing, documenting facts that bind the threads of anthropological wonder. Powai runs in her veins)