While red-faced officials claim ‘finishing touches’ remain on the bridge, furious locals say it is out of pure spite
It was a heady moment of people power when citizens threw open the new Vasai east-west flyover after they got tired of waiting for it to be inaugurated. For the first time in years, people were able to cross between east and west Vasai in a matter of minutes, instead of braving hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic. A day later, however, they were in for a rude shock when they saw the flyover had been closed again.
After mid-day’s report on how locals removed barricades and opened the bridge for traffic, authorities put heavier ones back in place yesterday. Pics/Hanif Patel
In a front-page report yesterday (‘Tired of waiting for netas, locals throw open Vasai east-west bridge’), mid-day had reported how residents and motorists in Vasai got tired of waiting for the flyover to be launched even a month after it was completed. They had read news reports that it would be inaugurated on Wednesday by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, so when they saw the flyover was still shut they decided to take matters into their own hands and open it.
After the MMRDA closed the new flyover, locals were once again forced to brave hours of traffic on the older and narrower bridge to cross between Vasai east and west
After reading mid-day’s report, several citizens wrote to express how happy they were about the Vasai flyover finally being opened (see ‘Readers react’. Local residents were especially relieved that they would no longer have to depend on the older and narrower bridge they had been using for 50 years. It was already in a dilapidated condition, and would often lead to traffic snarls for hours together.
But their joy was short-lived. By nightfall, MMRDA officials decided to close the flyover again. At 10 pm, officials barricaded the ROB. This time, they also used heavy iron girders to block the path, to ensure the flyover can’t be opened as easily as the last time. Additional security was also deployed at the site. Although the flyover has already been delayed by five years, MMRDA claims that it is yet to complete the bridge, as some finishing touches are left. But angry locals suspect the flyover was merely closed to make a point and ensure that the flyover is inaugurated by a VIP (see ‘Locals angry’). Late last evening, political workers also staged a protest over the closing of the flyover.
I saw the mid-day article and was very happy to see that people have opened the new flyover. This morning, I was sad to see the new flyover shut again. I live five minutes from the old bridge but it takes me over 45 minutes to cross it every day. Now that the rains are here, the situation will get even worse.
People are paying a heavy price just because politicians not coming and opening the flyover. They will not use it but will merely come and click photos and take mileage for opening it. Why should we have to wait for them to inaugurate a flyover that has already been delayed by five years?
It has now become an ego issue for politicians. They could not digest that the public opened the flyover, so now they have closed it again, even though it is ready for use.
I am very disappointed that political raj continues in our country. The bridge is ready for use, and so many people did use it on Wednesday. Instead we are forced to use the old bridge where even ambulances get stuck in the traffic.
Social media reactions
Sultan Kaab Deshmukh
We should look for all such projects that have been completed and start using them. There is no need to wait for an MLA or CM to inaugurate them. They are not the ones funding the project; the money comes from the common man’s pocket.
Finally! The bridge was built with public money and we are the rightful owners.
If anyone should be inaugurating such things, it should be the public -- minus all the fanfare and chaos.
I have seen abroad that when a project is finished, it is inspected and directly opened for the public. No one comes to inaugurate it.