So impressed is mayor Shraddha Jadhav with the roads in Japan that she has now planned to invite Japanese road contractors to construct roads in Mumbai. Jadhav and municipal commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya had visited Japan last week to attend a meeting of the governing council, an umbrella committee of 170 countries, which was held in Yokohama, Japan.
Jadhav, who is the senior vice-president of the governing council since 1993, was so impressed with the pothole-free roads in Yokohama that when she met Yokohama mayor Fumiko Hayashi, she expressed her desire to invite local road contractors to Mumbai for building a road on experimental basis.
“Despite spending crores of rupees to fill potholes and for resurfacing of roads, city roads are bad. So, we are considering calling road contractor from Japan to build a one-kilometre road in the city as an experiment to see the results,” said Jadhav.
The BMC has spent over Rs 56 crore to fill potholes in the last six months whereas Rs 500 crore has been sanctioned for this year to resurface asphalt roads and construct concrete roads in the city. Despite this, the roads are not in good condition and now the mayor wants to spend more.
“Even if we have to spent double the amount, we are ready to spend, only to get good quality roads,” added Jadhav. Citizen groups, however, have a different opinion on the issue. GR Vora, civic activist from F-North citizens federation, said, “Though the intentions of the mayor are noble, she should first implement and follow all existing rules, laws, which are applicable for roads in the city.”
Vora added that Jadhav should first apply these measures before paying more of the0 taxpayers’ money to outside contractors.
Activists feel that politicians have the habit of going abroad and importing impractical ideas. “They announce grandiose plans, but these plans are never completed,” said an activist, who did not wish to be named.
Jadhav’s earlier announcement to set up a bird park at Powai on the lines of the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore is yet to take off. Jadhav had announced the idea after returning from Singapore in July this year. “Yes, I will follow up on the bird park issue after the Diwali vacation. There is a municipal garden at Powai, which can be converted into such a park,” said Jadhav.