The once quiet neighbourhood of Powai that attracted picnickers from across the city, is turning into a trouble spot, causing increasing inconvenience to residents.
From a peaceful village situated on the banks of a scenic lake, Powai has grown into a major township of residential complexes, major institutions and mega stores that's colourful but crowded, spawning activities that are creating a nuisance.
This is reflected in the cases of crime recorded and residents describe a worrying picture of alcohol and drugs consumption, prostitution which is making them feel insecure.
Suman Basu, secretary, Powai Area Locality Management, says, "One cannot take some routes in the Hiranandani area, like the forest side, where youngsters hang about regularly, consuming alcohol and drugs. Women are particularly at risk. The police officers in Powai are good, but they don't do patrolling."
This is worsened by the poor lighting in many areas. A resident pointed to an abandoned under construction building – a short distance from a school – where addicts and alcoholics gathered.
"During the day, even some school and college students hang around on the top floors of the structure, smoking and drinking," said another resident. "At night the place becomes a den of prostitution."
Basu also spoke about couples who frequented the lake area right through the day and engaged in embarrassing acts, which led families to stay away from the place. Some incidents of molestation have heightened concerns.
Appukuttan, an activist who has lived in Powai for nearly five decades, is more forgiving of the police. "We cannot blame the police as they come quickly when we call for help. Sadly, the number of students involved in drugs has increased, We are undertaking an awareness programme to reform them," he said.
Yadavrao Jadhav, senior police inspector, said the cops have responded to complaints promptly. "We have beat chowkies in the area and our men are on round-the-clock patrol. If people bring these cases to our notice we will certainly take action."