On 3rd January, 2019, a congregation of community members as well as locals, gathered in protest against the BMC to protect the sanctity of the 175-year-old Bai Avabai Ardeshir Wadia Agiary (popularly known as the Idawalla Agiary) at Chandanwadi, as the civic body has started constructing a toilet block a few days ago, inside the Hemalwadi garden, just behind the Agiary. There is a strong concern that it will contaminate the water in the holy well inside the Agiary, which is used to perform religious rituals.
The locals complained that with the construction of the Chattrapati Vyayamshala (municipal gym) in the garden, there was hardly any place for children to play and now the toilet would further eat into the garden area. Additio nally, it was also claimed that there was no need for a new toilet to be constructed, as there were at least two other public toilets within walking distance of the garden, and that the BMO should focus on repairing the existing, ill-maintained toilets, instead of constructing a new one.
As per news reports, a resident also said that the toilet would be insensitive to the religious sentiments of a number of women worshipping a 100-year-old Peepul tree inside the garden, as they regularly offer prayers to it in the morning. It would be in bad taste to construct a toilet right next to the place of puja (prayer). The residents have submitted a written complaint to the C ward office on January 2, 2019, demanding the toilet be shifted elsewhere. Defending the construction of the toilet, S K Mudhe, Assistant Engineer of the SWM Department was quoted to have said that it was a market area with no toilet facility and there was a need for a public toilet. He said there was no other space available apart from the garden, and that the toilet was being constructed in a corner and that the children’s play area was intact.
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