Kalyan-Dombivli dirt swept under the carpet for CM's Gudi Padwa visit

Potholes are being hurriedly filled, dividers are getting a fresh coat of paint, and patchy repair work is underway all so that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis sees a beautiful Kalyan and Dombivli today; illegal banners have also been put up

Following a typical babu routine of hiding the mess they have made by brushing it under the carpet, the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) is working on a war footing to make sure Kalyan and Dombivli look spic-and-span when the chief minister arrives here for a function on the occasion of Gudi Padwa today.

Dividers get a coat of paint on Dombivli-Kalyan Road. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Dividers get a coat of paint on Dombivli-Kalyan Road. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will participate in a Shobha Yatra organised by the Ganesh Mandir Sansthan on the occasion of the Maharashtrian Hindu New Year. Though he will arrive later, the yatra will start at 6 am and will conclude at 11 am, going from Bhagshala Maidan in Dombivli (West) to Phadke Road in Dombivli (East), and then to Kalyan.

Trees have been planted on dividers by putting mud on top of debris. The slabs making up the divider itself have not been properly glued together with cement
Trees have been planted on dividers by putting mud on top of debris. The slabs making up the divider itself have not been properly glued together with cement

The procession will have a lezim performance by schoolchildren and women riding motorcycles while dressed in traditional Maharashtrian navvari (nine-yard) sari, and spreading a social message. On the entire route (see box), KDMC workers have been repairing the dug-up roads and hurriedly filling up potholes, just so that the CM’s SUV has a smooth ride.

Debris, which was earlier obstructing pedestrians’ path, has been cleared from the roadside and dividers are being freshly painted for the CM’s visit. And, in what can only be called an act of extreme optimism, tree saplings have been planted a day before Fadnavis is set to arrive.

A road with a shoddy patch-up job in Dombivli
A road with a shoddy patch-up job in Dombivli

Calling their bluff
Though residents are happy some progress is happening, they have seen through the deception. “I doubt what the quality of road that has been laid in two days will be like,” said Shruti Nakki, a Dombivli resident.

“Roads have always been bad in Dombivli and Kalyan. We are relieved that the CM is visiting. But how good can work done in 3-4 days be?” asked Mandar Patil, an engineering student. K Pankajakshan, a Dombivli resident, complained of dust during morning and evening peak hours, about which nothing has been done yet.

Even if some people were to believe that this isn’t just a poor eleventh-hour attempt to hide the mismanagement of the past, but is actually being done for the benefit of citizens, the civic commissioner inadvertently dispels this misconception. “A VIP enjoys certain benefits and that’s what we are giving him.

We always wanted to develop roads and in around 23 places, work is being carried on. For the CM, we have undertaken many temporary works that will be later removed,” admitted Madhukar Ardad, KDMC commissioner. The civic body is expected to spend Rs 40-50 lakh on the patch-up job.

Moreover, in violation of a High Court order, local politicians have defaced the entire town by putting up ugly banners welcoming Fadnavis, including some congratulating the CM on banning beef in the state. BJP leaders believe the CM’s visit is a boon for the areas.

“It is the CM who will clear the pending budget requirements of the KDMC. His visit will surely benefit the city,” said Narendra Pawar, the Kalyan West MLA. Ganpat Gaikwad, independent MLA from Kalyan East who now supports the BJP, echoed the same sentiments. “We will always hope the CM visits more often to these areas, as he will understand our problems.”

The Shiv Sena, which rules the KDMC along with the BJP, however, denied the work had anything to do with the CM’s visit. “We are completing road work as per our decided target date. The CM’s visit has no bearing on it,” claimed Shrikant Shinde, Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan and son of Eknath Shinde, PWD minister and Thane guardian minister.

CM’s route
The CM is likely to land in his chopper at KDMC garden in Dombivli around 10 am. From there, he is expected to visit Bhagshala Maidan and then Phadke road to address the crowd.

He will then travel from Dombivli to Kalyan via the Kalyan-Panvel road, going to Kalyan (East), and then to Kalyan (West). He will then pay MLA Narendra Pawar a visit at his house in Lal Chowki, Kalyan (West)

Politician speak

Ganpat Gaikwad, Kalyan East independent MLA supporting BJP
We hope the CM visits more often, as he will understand our problems

Narendra Pawar, Kalyan West MLA, BJP
Since the BJP government took charge, the CM has visited thrice. It is he who will approve pending budgets for KDMC. His visit will surely help

Shrikant Shinde, Kalyan MP
We are completing road work as per our decided target. The CM’s visit has no bearing on it.

Resident speak

Shruti Nakki, Dombivli resident
They have planted trees on dividers, but have only put mud from the top. There is debris at the bottom. How will the trees grow?

K Pankajakshan, Dombivli resident
Illegal banners are all over the city. I hope the CM looks at them and also that he takes a different route, rather than a pre-decided one, to understand our real problems.

Madhura Purohit, Dombivli resident
They are clearing debris, planting trees and completing other work as fast as they can. I seriously doubt the quality of this work, though.

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