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BMC polls: Unfinished, poor quality roads add to woes of commuters

Corporators blame civic admnistration.

Written by Arita Sarkar | Mumbai |
January 30, 2017 3:47:08 am
BMC polls, mumbai civic polls, mumbai commuter problems, mumbai ward watch, mumbai news, latest news, indian express A road near Motilal Nagar in Goregaon (W). Amit Chakravarty

Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s inquiry into the Rs 2,000-crore roads scam revealed the dismal condition of at least 230 major and minor roads. The fallout of the investigations into the scam continues to be felt by lakhs of residents of Goregaon, Malad, Aarey Colony and the surrounding areas that comprise P South Ward, where apart from the poor quality of roads, long stretches have been left incomplete for several months now, reportedly by contractors implicated in the scam.

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Ward Number 50, which includes areas such as Shastri Nagar and Bangur Nagar, is represented by Shiv Sena corporator Rajan Padhye. He says, “Many roads including the Aarey Colony Road, the road near Kiran Industry in Unnat Nagar, the stretch of the road in Shastri Nagar near the Siddharth Hospital, have all been left partially repaired by contractors found guilty in the scam. As the BMC stopped their payment, they stopped working and it is clearly visible that only half the work was done.”

Blaming the administration for the poor quality of roads, Padhye says work has stalled for many months, but no action has been taken against the corporators. “They should blacklist corporators who are not working and should appoint new ones. The BMC gives the excuse that appointment of a fresh tendering process would be time-consuming and there won’t be enough time to complete the pre-monsoon work, but in any case people are suffering because the work isn’t progressing,” he says.

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Apart from unfinished work, bad roads are a routine complaint across the ward, including on arterial road stretches such as the one in front of Oberoi Mall on the highway. Congress corporator Sneha Zagade (Ward 45) says the quality of the roads has particularly deteriorated in the past two years. “The side strips of SV Road are in a bad shape and the BMC keeps digging it up from time to time for utilities,” she says.

Zagade says several representations to the administration to replace the paver blocks with asphalt went unheeded. Internal roads such as Chincholi Bunder Road are also uneven and in urgent need of repairs.

Not surprisingly, traffic congestion is prevalent across P South ward. Zagade says Sundar Nagar and Piramal Nagar need better traffic planning as eight schools and three colleges are located in the vicinity. “When the children are going home, Veer Savarkar bridge gets congested. Even though the BMC has been working on extending the bridge and will eventually connect it to Linking Road, the work is very slow,” she says. Sena and Congress corporators are also unanimous in their assessment that hawkers near Goregaon (West) station pose serious challenges for railway commuters.

Last year, at least 10-12 residential buildings in Pandurangwadi received filthy and foul-smelling water for three months. Even though the issue was resolved, residents say water contamination is an annual problem. “Every monsoon, we receive dirty water as the pipe supplying water to our ward is right next to the drainage line. What happened last year was particularly bad and the problem will continue every year unless the 40-year-old water pipeline is replaced,” says Bhushan Rajadhyaksha, a resident of the area.

Zagade adds that the slum areas in her ward also witness water thefts and contamination. “More than 3,500 people live in the Shankar Nagar slum and many of them don’t get regular supply of drinking water. To resolve the issue and reduce the number of complaints of water thefts in the area, we had suggested that bunch connections be removed and replaced with a 6-inch line, but this was never implemented,” she says.

For the 55 per cent of the ward’s population residing in slums, sanitation access is also poor. While lack of space in a dense slum such as Prem Nagar is an impediment to construction of toilet blocks, the slow pace of approvals is the reason given to the 10,000-odd tribals residing in Aarey Colony who have access to only 200 toilet seats, many of which need urgent repairs and reconstruction.

Sena corporator Jitendra Valvi of Ward 47 says the Aarey land belongs to the Dairy Development Department and a long list of pending approvals has delayed the development of amenities for the tribal community. “As the area falls under a no-development zone, we need to take permission from the state government for the smallest things,” says Valvi.

Of eight electoral wards, six are represented by Shiv Sena corporators including MLA and former mayor Sunil Prabhu. The remaining two are represented by Congress corporators. Following delimitation, the number of electoral wards in P South Ward has increased to nine wards.

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