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Mumbai's eastern suburbs face a rough ride this monsoon

With barely a month to go before showers lash the city, there is work in progress on almost all major roads; the big question is: will they be done in time? In the first part of our campaign to reclaim our roads, we drive down LBS Marg and zoom in on the problem areas

Everymonsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) vows to strengthen the city’s roads and make commuting a breeze for citizens.

However, the civic body has mostly failed to live up to its promise. In the first phase of our campaign, this newspaper visits the all-important LBS Marg in the Eastern suburbs.

The Eastern suburbs have experienced a bumpy ride due to potholes and uneven roads for quite some time. With the monsoon just a month away, work has begun on bettering roads.

Patches on the LBS Marg, right from Vikhroli to Mulund, have been dug up for concretisation. With the monsoons just a month away, the BMC says it will finish work by May 25 i.e. at least a week before the monsoon arrives.

Also read: Concrete roads, but no concrete deadlines in Mumbai's western suburbs

With the monsoons just a month away, it is quite unlikely that the BMC fulfill its promise of completing work on all roads. Pics/Prashant Waydande
With the monsoons just a month away, it is quite unlikely that the BMC fulfill its promise of completing work on all roads. Pics/Prashant Waydande

Our visits to four important stretches on the northbound route revealed that the civic body might, yet again, fail on its promise of delivering a smooth ride for commuters in the rains.

Opposite Santoshi Mata Mandir, Mulund (West)
Work started: A month and a half ago
Expected to be completed: In a week’s time
Ground reality: All lanes, except one, have been dug up. Traffic movement is slow in the one operational concrete lane. The site supervisor claimed that work would be finished within a week’s time, but it seems highly unlikely. If not completed within the given time, severe traffic congestions and flooding may prove to be a nightmare for residents, pedestrians and motorists.

Work being done on the road outside the Santoshi Mata Mandir
Work being done on the road outside the Santoshi Mata Mandir

With the monsoons just a month away, it is quite unlikely that the BMC fulfill its promise of completing work on all roads. Pics/Prashant Waydande
Local corporator says: Bhavna Jobanputra did not respond to repeated phone calls.

BMC speak
Chanda Jadhav, the Assistant Municipal Commissioner, said, “The road is with the central agency of the BMC. We are not supervising this work.”

Road Department says
Ashok Pawar, chief engineer of the BMC’s Roads department, which is handling all the work, told this paper, “We will try to complete maximum work before the rains, so that there won’t be any problem for commuters. If something is incomplete, we will do it after the monsoon.”

Voices

Mitram Moraya, commutes by this road daily
This work has been going on since many days, and also causes a lot of inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists here. There’s a major traffic snarl every evening, making it difficult to manage your way through it.

Shankar Shelar, local resident
The authorities have woken up now. They should have done this long ago. It is only during election time that we get to see such work done.

Outside Nirmal Lifestyle Mall, Moti Nagar, Mulund (West)
Work started: One month ago
Expected to be completed: In a week’s time
Ground reality: A culvert is being constructed and the complete patch beside the road has been dug up. The street narrows down just in front of the mall, which is a popular destination. This causes a lot of vehicles to
pile up.

 

Local corporator says: Bhavna Jobanputra did not respond to repeated phone calls.

With the road outside the popular mall dug up, a long line of vehicles is seen every day
With the road outside the popular mall dug up, a long line of vehicles is seen every day

BMC speak
Chanda Jadhav, assistant municipal commissioner, said, “Even this road is looked after by the central agency of BMC – the Roads department. We only maintain the road. However, the BMC will get the work done soon and no problems shall be caused to Mumbaikars.”

Voices

R N Yadav, auto driver who regularly commutes here
We face a traffic problem every day on this stretch. It’s even worse during monsoon, and now they have dug up the road.

Ramesh Dhanavde, local resident
This is a common sight every year. Just before the monsoon, they find problems and start digging roads up.

Outside Neptune Magnet Mall, Ishwar Nagar, Bhandup (West)
Work started: One month ago
Expected to be completed: In a week’s time
Ground reality: This stretch was deeply excavated, with cables protruding from the spot. The site supervisor said they would be done in a week’s time, which according to the corporator needs to be checked by the authorities.
Local corporator says: Rupesh Waigankar, MNS corporator from the area, said, “We are doing continuous follow-ups with the administration. If work is not completed by monsoon, we will hold them responsible in our way. How will people travel on these dug-up roads?”

With the road outside the popular mall dug up, a long line of vehicles is seen every day
Auto rickshaws line up to refill CNG at the nearby gas station, thereby taking up a major portion of the operational road. This causes a traffic jam again

BMC speak
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, said, “We are in touch constantly with the authorities and contractors working on this road. There won’t be a problem during monsoon”

Voices

Sushant Martak, local resident
This happens every year. And most of the times, the work is not completed even after it starts raining.

Harakchand Pasad, owns a shop on the road
This road was in proper condition. But due to some short circuit, the authorities started alongside it. Auto rickshaws face a problem while in queue to fill up CNG. Due to this, traffic comes to a halt outside Neptune Mall.

Gandhi Nagar junction to India Tube Mills, Vikhroli (W)
Work started: 14 months ago
Expected to be completed: In a month
Ground reality: The patch is being converted to concrete for more than a year. According to supervisors overseeing the project, the lane has been narrowed down and movement of traffic is extremely slow. With the deadline most likely to be faulted on, one can expect chaotic traffic during monsoon.

The stretch going towards the Gandhi Nagar junction is a major bottleneck, and causes long lines of vehicles every day
The stretch going towards the Gandhi Nagar junction is a major bottleneck, and causes long lines of vehicles every day

Local corporator says: Ashok Patil, corporator of this area, said, “We are tracking this issue for a very long time. The BMC has guaranteed that work will be completed by May 25. If that does not happen, it will be a very bad monsoon for commuters.”

BMC speak
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, said, “This road is with the central agency of BMC i.e. the Roads department. They will take care of it, and as per my knowledge, the job should be completed soon.”

Voices

Ramesh Kirte, local resident
It seems the road has been dug up for some pipeline work. During the evening peak hours, vehicles going towards Kanjurmarg or Powai line up all the way from the Gandhi Nagar signal to Surya Nagar
paper mill.

Sunil Kale, local resident
It takes 30 minutes just to cross the Gandhi Nagar signal. Earlier, it hardly used to take minutes. With the onset of the monsoon, the situation will only worsen.

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