In anticipation of Ajit Pawar's arrival on Thursday, Pune civic body prepared the stretch in Ghule Nagar at breakneck speed, begging the question why so many other pending road projects in the city are moving at such a sluggish pace
Residents of Ghule Nagar in Vadgaon Budruk couldn’t believe their eyes on Thursday, as they saw an entire stretch of road in their area — running for about three kilometers —get concretised at miraculous speed. The stretch was readied in about two hours by PMC workers, to their utter shock.
SLIPSHOD: While the road work was completed with great speed, a resident said that the quality of work was inferior, and the concrete was sure to wash off with the first rains
But any joy they may have felt at the PMC’s newfound speed was soon obliterated, when they realised that the uncharacteristic speed was in honour of the impending arrival of the state’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in the area. Pawar was scheduled to arrive at the spot to unveil a statue of Shivaji on Thursday evening, and the road work was completed by afternoon.
Significantly, the roadwork ended exactly at the spot where the function was to be held. Just ahead of it, the old kaccha road can still be seen. mid-day visited the spot on Sunday and spoke to locals to find out more.
A senior resident in Ghule Nagar said, “We are living here for the past 20 years, and the condition of the road is deplorable. So it was a welcome surprise for all of us on Thursday, when we saw more than 50 workers suddenly came to our area and start doing concretisation work.
Pleasing the boss: The roadwork ended exactly at the spot where the function was to be held. Just ahead of it, the old kaccha road can still be seen
However, the work they have done is inferior in quality and the concrete is sure to wash off with the first rains. It was only done so that the deputy CM’s vehicle could be driven smoothly to the inauguration spot. All the locals have been demanding good roads for years, but our pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears.”
There are about 1,000 houses in the area. There are other road works and pipeline repairs going on near this area, which have been pending for the past few months, locals revealed.
Municipal Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh told mid-day, “No road work that was planned in the financial year ending March 2014 is pending in the city. We have issued orders to all the ward offices to start planning fresh repairing and road works for the new financial year, so that we can start work on them before the next code of conduct comes into effect for the Vidhan Sabha elections.”
He added, “A time-bound programme has been planned by the PMC. Any work, which involves digging up of roads, will be completed on a priority basis. Orders have been given by the PMC to finish the work before the rains. All the contractors have been given a deadline of May 20 to complete their pending works, so that we have 10 days till May 31 to take an overview and finish the pending ones.”
Asked about the ‘special’ project carried out in just two hours, he said, “I need to check on this and see how the work was done in only two hours. Ground reality must be checked.”
Ironically, Pawar decided to give the ceremony a miss at the eleventh hour.
The number of labourers who worked for 2 hours
In February 2014, the PMC started road repair and concretisation in the city in various areas, including Kothrud, Sinhagad Road, Sahakarnagar, Hadapsar and Sadashiv Peth. During elections, this roadwork slowed down, and many of them are still pending.
Vivek Velankar, Sajag Nagrik Manch president, said, “It is a regular phenomenon in the city. Two years ago, when the president was supposed to visit the city, PMC completed roadwork worth R3 crore in just two days. A few months ago, the PMC completed work on a riverbed in one night. This means that if they have the will, they can do it. The problem lies in the fact that there is lack of will and coordination for public works. There is no coordination between PMC officials and contractors, as a result of which, the work gets delayed and citizens have to suffer.” He added, “When politicians or any high-profile person is scheduled to come to the city, PMC becomes alert and completes work in a specific area just to show that they do their work. Good administration is the only solution to such problems.”