The US President’s impending arrival in the city had led the civic body to revive an old ritual of washing the city’s roads with water.
This ritual had been discontinued following the drought-like situation in the city in 1965. In the past few days, the civic body has washed Worli Seaface promenade and the Haji Ali promenade. “We have washed all roads that the President is expected to drive through,” a senior civic official said.
Civic officials will be washing most roads in south Mumbai area that Obama is likely to visit – Worli Seaface Road, Nariman Point, Peddar Road, Marine Drive Road, DN Road and KB Patil Road. The road outside Xavier’s College and Mani Bhavan were also washed. “We are using non-potable water for the purpose,” the official said.
Residents of these areas wish the US President visited the city frequently so that they could have better roads more often. “We keep complaining, but the civic body never listens. If it takes a dignitary like Obama to make them take notice, then we hope he comes again,” said Atish Mehta, a resident of Girgaum.
The BMC says the practice of washing roads will not stop at the President’s visit and will be done regularly. Ashish Kumar Singh, additional municipal commissioner, said, “Whenever VVIPs visit the city, the BMC will wash roads. We will also try and wash roads once a month,” Singh said.
Municipal commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya inspected the work on Thursday. He said, “Clean roads and beautified footpaths will be permanent features of the city and suburbs.”
When asked about the funds used, he said, “I can’t say how much was spent.”