Encroachment by makeshift shops, kiosks and food stalls of various vendors is not the only reason why footpaths in the city have become an obstacle course for pedestrians. Feeder pillars and electricity poles erected by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) are also contributing to the problem.
This fact came to light after a survey conducted by the electricity department of the PMC in as many as 14 areas in the city. The survey revealed that 1,392 feeder pillars and transformers, and 2,943 electrical poles are encroaching on footpaths.
On April 10, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, T C Benjamin wrote a hard hitting letter to the PMC raising questions on the condition of footpaths in the city and ordered all encroachment to be cleared.
“On May 9, Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak verbally ordered that action be taken against encroachment by feeder pillars and electricity poles after collecting data of such obstacles from the respective ward offices. Accordingly, I sent letters to all the respective ward offices for the survey,” Deputy City Engineer Srinivas Kandul said.
He added that after the survey the department had given MSEDCL 15 days to clear the encroachments it was responsible for.
Chief Engineer of MSEDCL Siddharth Nagtilak said that resources were lacking to resolve the matter.
“We need manpower as well as money power to clear the footpaths. We will draw an estimate of the total expenditure and submit it to the PMC. Once the PMC bears the expenditure, we will clear the encroachments,” Nagtilak said.
Responding to the chief engineer’s comment, Kandul said the MSEDCL was in error in fixing the feeder boxes and poles at these locations and so it should bear the expenses of clearing these.