While Mumbai’s bike riders are itching to feel the sea breeze in their hair on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), which is banned for two-wheelers, there were a few who managed to do it in style yesterday.
In a show of defiance against toll nakas, party workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) not only enjoyed a leisurely bike ride on the sea link, but also managed to do so toll-free. Cars that accompanied the bikers also enjoyed a free ride.
MLA Nitin Sardesai was accompanied by scores of party workers and about 60 two-wheelers took the BWSL by storm, gatecrashing the toll naka at the Worli end. The rally against the toll naka was started at Mahim Causeway and was supposed to end at Worli, but was later extended to the Bandra end of the sea link.
“My co-party workers and I had started a rally which kicked off from Mahim and was supposed to end at Worli in order to make people aware of how the government is looting them by collecting toll. While returning from the rally, a few of my party workers and I used the BWSL to get back home. The sea link rally was not planned,” said Sardesai.
When asked why the sea link’s restriction on two-wheelers was flouted, he said, “For us, the awareness of the people is important. These rules do not matter to us and won’t stop us from helping the public.”
J D Mhaiskar, managing director for Mumbai Entry Point Toll Road Private Limited (MEPL), which is the toll collection company on the BWSL, said, “MNS workers made a smart move, as they entered the sea-link from Worli, where there is no toll naka. The advantage is that there are only a few policemen and security guards at that point, whom the politician tackled easily. Toll is collected at entry and exit points on the Bandra end, and that is why they were able to gatecrash easily.”
Mhaiskar added that even though there is a law against taking two wheelers on the sea link, the bikes went through. “Politicians should not take laws into their own hands,” Mhaiskar said.