Migrant Problem

Migrant Problem

Ranked only after Tokyo and Mexico City, Mumbai is the world’s third most populated city with an estimated population of 18,042,000. The city has a population density of more than 17,000 people per square kilometre. The figure for London is around 1,200.

Overcrowding of our cities can be primarily attributed to the inflow of migration. Together with its twin city Thane, Mumbai is facing an acute problem of population influx. There is an increasing flow of people who are moving in from villages and small towns into the metropolitan.

On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha MP from Thane, Satish Pradhan was invited by the Rotary Club of Thane to speak about this growing problem of population influx to Mumbai and Thane. In his address, Pradhan made it clear in the beginning that he is completely against politicising this issue. He stressed on the severity of the matter, highlighting the various causes that are leading to this invasion of the city and the consequences.

Most migrants first arrive in the city in search of a livelihood. They find odd jobs in the informal sectors – as construction workers, hawkers, domestic helpers and so on. The constant inflow encourages unauthorised encroachments. Slum colonies increase and slums become bigger. Though it’s not easy for the migrants to survive in a city like Mumbai, it is not as hard as it was back in the villages. So they stay on. Soon a few unscrupulous elements of the society help these migrants get official status.

Pradhan expressed concern over Bangladeshi refugees and immigrants who are potential threats – not only from the economic point of view but also from the sovereignty standpoint. Since democracy allows everyone to vote and stand for elections, and since many migrants are "regularised" as citizens (thanks to rampant corruption), a day might come when we’ll have a Chief Minister or Prime Minister of Bangladeshi origin who once arrived here as a migrant.

Pradhan said that we’re investing thousands of crores in building infrastructure for the city. But by the time it is built, it is already rendered inadequate by the simultaneous growth in the population. Public transport is already under increasing pressure and on the verge of collapsing. Similarly, lack of water supply, theft of electricity and increasing corruption are making life more difficult than ever for the average citizen.

True, the load on infrastructure and other resources is constantly on the rise and if something is not done soon about this constant invasion of refugees and migrants into the city, we will suffocate from over-population. The society and business community must do all it can to discourage this influx. As citizens we can do a lot and must exercise our powers judiciously – for instance we must not hire domestic workers without verifying their credentials; we must not buy stuff from street side hawkers; we must oppose corruption wherever and whenever we encounter it; and most important, we must vote out of power those parties who misuse their powers for election gains.

Noble Efforts Rewarded
Johnson & Johnson’s efforts to ensure environmental health for the future have been recognised throughout the world by governments and environmental organisations. The parent company in USA gives away World Wide Environmental awards to honour those facilities, teams and individuals that have demonstrated significant progress towards achieving the company’s Environmental Strategic Vision. The awards are based on Sustainability in Environmental Performance, Environmental Innovation and Environmental Leadership (Social Responsibilities). This year the Mulund Consumer Plant of J&J has won the Environmental Excellence Award in Leadership for its energy sharing programme, which has been appreciated worldwide.

On Wednesday, May 21, 2003, the Mulund plant of J&J announced that it has nominated two Thane-based NGOs, namely Jignyasa Trust and Hariyali, to receive the share of prize money that they have received as part of the award. Both these NGO’s were chosen on the basis of their contribution in the area of environmental protection and creating social awareness for a healthier environment.

Both Jignyasa and Hariyali comprise of dedicated and enthusiastic team members who constantly organise various socially relevant projects like cleaning of lakes, awareness drives, tree plantations etc. Most Thane residents would agree that these NGOs have contributed significantly to Thane’s social fabric.

By sharing the prize money, J&J has acted like a good corporate citizen. But more importantly, these little rewards go a long way in boosting the enthusiasm of selfless individuals working behind the scenes in order that we all have a better quality of life. On behalf of the residents of Thane, we congratulate Jignyasa, Hariyali and all other NGOs who relentlessly strive to improve our city through their noble efforts.

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