MUMBAI: The ‘God of Cricket’, Sachin Tendulkar has come under fire several times over the years as a Rajya Sabha member for not carrying out the development work. Keeping that in mind, the ‘Master Blaster’ has decided to answer the critics by not his words but actions.

Sachin Tendulkar has turned his attention to tribal villages in Aarey Milk Colony which has been neglected for a long now by the authorities. 42-year-old Tendulkar is now utilizing his MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds to build six public toilets and several footpaths within these adivasi padas.

The celebrated cricketer in addition has distributed 500 solar lamps among the adivasi community. The initiative from the star player comes as a blessing for the tribal residents, some of whom have been living there for more than a century but continue to lack basic facilities such as electricity and toilet.

Famous for man-leopard conflict, Aarey lack toilets that forces locals to answer the nature’s call in the open, where they are certainly in danger to the leopard attacks.

“We have no option than to risk our lives as we answer the nature’s call as this is when we are exposed the most to the human-leopard conflict. We are happy that at least MP Sachin Tendulkar is using his funds to construct basic amenities of the people,” expressed a resident of Vanichapada.

Aarey – In Real

Spread in around 4, 000 acres out of which 378 hectares is already occupied by various dairy units, squatters, hamlets, guest house, Central Poultry Development Organization, private tabelas (cattle sheds) and shooting sets, Aarey Colony, established in 1949 is situated in Goregaon East, a Mumbai suburb.

Mumbai is India’s second city is home to an estimated 20 million people, but it in addition contains one of the largest protected urban forests in the world and roughly 21 leopards, counted by a forest camera-trap in 2012.   

An encounter with the leopards in the area is not a scandal but a routine that come close to human settlements in a search for food. Something like 90% of the diet of the leopards consists of dogs, rodents and wild boar. 

The leopards in Mumbai who once coexisted peacefully with their human neighbours have changed the notion of the people for more than decade as they are now considered to be the bloodthirsty man-eaters. 

Out of 176 attacks reported between 1991 to 2013, 84 occurred between 2002 and 2004. Nine people were killed by leopards only in the month of June, 2004.

Since November 2011 there have been six fatalities and the last three deaths were reported from Aarey Milk Colony. In 2013, a seven-year-boy was killed in the human-leopard conflict.

Reports suggest that all attacks on humans have happened in slum areas except one in Powai. In areas that lack toilets or electricity, 80% of the leopard attacks happen when people go out to answer nature’s call after dark.

Sachin marks a difference

Sachin Tendulkar has ordered the building of six public toilets, each with four booths inside at Vanichapada, Mataipada, Khambyachapada, Gavdevipada, Gitunichapa-da and Futkyatalavachapada. The work for the same has already started and according to a leading daily, the construction of toilets at Vanichapada is almost done while only the final touches are left.

The entire project is expected to be over by monsoon and the locals thrilled by the work in their regions, claim that the construction of the new toilets are far better than to the toilets built by MHADA-SRA.

While the old toilets were roofed with asbestos sheets that frequently fall to pieces in the monsoon, the new toilets on the other hand have solid concrete slabs overhead.

Not only this, the new toilets even have better tiles within along with running water connections from a tank situated at the back which was a major concern with the MHADA-SRA toilets.

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