Andheri Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association (LOCA) is focused on finding solutions for civic, environment and social problems of the residents of Andheri West, and preserving the green cover that it is blessed with. It has become a source of inspiration for other resident bodies across the island city.
Andheri, Versova, Lokhandwala and Oshiwara names ring a bell in people’s mind with upmarket expensive real estate areas with skyscrapers. Area where people from the film and television industry reside. But this area has more than just celebrities... It has a large coast line and mega infrastructure projects lined up like the Versova Bandra sea link, two metro lines originating from the area, etc.
LOCA was founded in 2010 when the residents of the area, who were living in some of the most expensive real estates of its time, found themselves short-changed, paying steep taxes and not getting the kind of service they deserved from the civic officials.
LOCA started spreading its wings in the form of a registered ALM (Advance Locality Management) with MCGM. It became a part of local police stations’ Police Mitra Samittee and connected with other government and statutory bodies to address and solve the grievances of the residents in the locality of Lokhandwala and Oshiwara. But the association had a much larger vision of joining like-minded individuals, housing societies, etc., in a clearly defined geographical region. The aim of LOCA was crystal clear — improving the quality of life with better infrastructure, quality of services and facilities, protecting the mangroves cover and water bodies.
The Founding Directors of LOCA are Dhaval Shah, Karan Jotwani, Ganesh Rao, Amarjeet Gumber and a few others.
As an Association, Karan Jotwani says, “We have excellent working relations with all the elected representatives, Similarly, there is mutual cooperation with the K-WEST Ward MCGM as well as the Versova, Oshiwara, Amboli Police Station and the traffic police.”
In subsequent years with the advent of social media activism, LOCA spread its wings to other areas of Andheri West and started resolving problems residents were facing in areas like Versova, Yari Road, 4 Bungalows, etc.
LOCA is one of the largest residents’ bodies in Mumbai. They also have a formidable presence on Facebook and Instagram, with
the Twitter handle (@Lokhandwala_bom) boasting of over 13500 followers.
Since the inception, LOCA has managed to solve a number of problems of the residents of the area. Some of their achievements are Lokhandwala Ganpati Visarjan Pond, which was started and doubled in size to cater to needs of the area, and has also helped save marine life.
The pond has proved to of huge convenience to the residents, with celebrities like Sonu Sood speaking highly about it.
Other important initiatives:
÷Gunning for the fire station in our area to cater to swift response, post office in nominated plot area.
÷Segregation and collection of dry and wet waste from the area by a sustained campaign for such segregation in the locality.
÷Regular interaction with local police station to ensure security and safety of the residents of the area, asking for increased patrolling, solving the menace caused by speeding cars, need for traffic lights, installing of speed breakers at appropriate places, etc.
÷Getting fumigation done from time to time to curb mosquito problems in housing societies.
÷Providing document verification services free of cost, legal, medical advice through tie-ups with various professionals at subsidised rates.
÷Tree cutting and waste disposal assistance for housing societies. Solar power and rain water harvesting initiatives to reduce property tax for housing complexes.
÷Tree plantation drives, partnering with schools and colleges of the area for awareness campaigns, protecting the water bodies of the area.
÷One might argue that being situated in a VVIP area has its definite advantages, but LOCA has shown what a residents’ association can really do with an attitude of cooperation with the civic and other allied authorities.
÷LOCA introduced several initiatives during the pandemic. These initiatives included distributing of 15000 face masks and face shields to hospitals, fire stations, BMC departments, housing societies’ security personnel, housekeeping staff, shop keepers, etc., of the area.
÷Sharing verified information, circulars from government bodies during pandemic and converting complex rules into lucid language for residents to understand.
LOCA steps up by trying to hold the civic authorities accountable and also striving to and improve the quality of services available to the residents of the area.