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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Fix pothole in 10 days or else waive toll: Ministers

mumbai Updated: Sep 20, 2019 01:06 IST

The guardian ministers of Thane and Palghar have asked Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to fill all potholes in 10 days or they will have to waive toll.

The decision was taken by Eknath Shinde and Ravindra Chavan, guardian ministers of Thane and Palghar district respectively, a day before the code of conduct for Assembly elections comes into effect.

Commuters said that while the demand for toll waiver is being made since July, the move just before Assembly elections seems deliberate.

Shinde has asked all local self-governing bodies and state agencies to fill potholes before Navratri so that residents will not face any inconvenience during the festival.

A meeting to discuss potholes and congestion across Thane and Palghar district was called by Shinde, who is also the public work department (PWD) minister.

The meeting was held in coordination with the district collector, municipal corporations in the two districts, municipal councils, PWD, highway authority, MMRDA and MSRDC officials at the collector office on Thursday.

With the rain refusing to stop, roads across the district have developed huge craters leading to peak-hour traffic congestion across Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Dombivli areas. Every city in the district is grappling with congestion and pothole issues. Commuters vent their anger on social media every day.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Amit Kale, listed the areas where there is congestion owing to potholes. “There are many potholes on Saket Bridge and near Kharegaon toll naka along the Mumbai-Nasik Highway. The Kalyan-Shilphata road and Patripool are worst-affected.”

MSRDC official, who was present in the meeting, said, “Shilphata road was built in 2008. But, the road is damaged as there has been no layering work. We are filling potholes every day. The road will have to be concretised to make it pothole-free. We will need 10 days to fill all potholes.”

BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar said the condition of the Eastern Express Highway after the Anandnagar toll naka is also the same and people are paying toll after plying on pothole-riddled roads.

Chavan told MSRDC that if the potholes aren’t filled in the next 10 days, toll across the district would be waived.

Shinde said, “MSRDC and MMRDA should fill all potholes in the next 10 days. Failing which, we will be forced to stop toll collection on the roads.”

The potholes in Kalyan, Dombivli and Thane city were brought up for discussion.

Jagdish Kore, executive civic engineer of KDMC, said, “We had allotted a budget of ₹17 crore for filing potholes and appointed 11 contractors. We have completed 30% work. Once we get a dry spell, we can finish repairs in 15 days.”

Rajendra Ahivar, additional commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation, said the city has 206 kms of bitumen roads which are riddled with potholes and the work of filling them is going on regularly.

Kelkar said that while the main highway is barricaded for Metro work, the service roads too have been encroached upon by shops, garages, hawkers and parked vehicles. Shinde directed the traffic police to take action against illegal constructions along the service road and remove the illegally parked vehicles from the road.

The residents aren’t convinced with the promise which they claim is a poll gimmick.

 “The entire monsoon we were demanding toll waiver. Now towards the fag-end of monsoon, with elections are around the corner, the ministers have dangled a carrot before us,” said a resident of Thane.

Metro barricading to be
removed at places

The barricades installed for the ongoing metro work from LBS road to Ghodbunder. But, no work is going on at several stretches along the road. Kale had asked MSRDC to remove the barricades at this place. MSRDC officials said the decision can be taken at higher level.

Shinde said, “The traffic police and district collector should use their authority and remove barricades where no work is going on. It will be a long process to approach higher authorities. The traffic and collector can remove the barricades so that the traffic is eased.”

Patripool to display
of work progress

The public ire over the delay in construction of the Patripool has forced politicians to take note. Shinde has asked MSRDC officials to display a board on the status work of the bridge.

Shinde said, “People are angry as they do not know the work progress. The authorities should display a board, mentioning the progress of girders constructed in Hyderabad and also the status of approvals and deadlines.”

An MSRDC official said, “Work on the first bridge is completed. We will complete the second bridge by February 2020. The tender process for the third bridge is completed. We have sent the design for approval to the railways.”

Parking lot for heavy vehicles

The traffic police said the city has no parking lots for heavy vehicles or vehicles which are seized for plying illegally. Kale said, “TMC had promised us 11 parking plots to park heavy, abandoned or seized vehicles. Buses are parked on roads as there is no parking place.”

The traffic department has also issued a circular to school buses, which are parked on roads to park buses on the school premises. Shinde directed TMC to give the 11 plots on priority basis to resolve parking issue of heavy vehicles.

First Published: Sep 20, 2019 01:06 IST

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