The hoarding menace in the city seems to have assumed newer, more alarming proportions. On Thursday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a road over bridge connecting Jogeshwari East and West.
The entire flyover was covered with saffron flags and posters of Thackeray and BJP city president Ashish Shelar. Pic/Sharad Vegda
But, even before the structure was officially thrown open the public, its entire 2.25-kilometre stretch was covered with saffron flags and medium-sized posters of Thackeray and BJP city president Ashish Shelar. The posters read: ‘welcome’ and ‘congratulations.’
Soon after the inauguration Thackeray, Shelar and other dignitaries present at the event took a ride and inspected the Hinduhrudaysamrat Bala-saheb Thackeray Bridge, named after the late Sena patriarch.
When questioned about the posters, Shelar said, “I haven’t done it. The law should take its own course.” Yashodhar Phanse, Sena group leader in the BMC, said, “We did not put up these posters, our supporters did. All parties install such posters before functions.
If our posters are removed, then those belonging to the others must also go. However, as a long-term solution, I think all parties should agree on a code and voluntarily take down banners and posters soon after their respective functions conclude.”
Devendra Amberkar, leader of opposition in the BMC, said, “It seems both the parties are trying to hog credit, despite knowing that installing hoardings, posters or banners is illegal. The High Court had issued directives in this regard. The BMC should take action against the posters.”
Parag Masurkar, assistant commissioner, K/West ward, said, “The hoardings were removed soon after the function.” When it was pointed out that a few were still there around 2 pm, he said, “They will be removed by evening.”
Local residents protest
Residents of Minar Park in Jogeshwari West, who protested against the flyover on Wednesday night, stated they were promised a footpath. With the building located close to the bridge, residents will now have to use the service road to crossover.
Residents of Minar Tower protesting on Wednesday night. Pic/Rane Ashish
However, they said the road has an open nullah and they are worried about senior citizens and children accidentally falling into it while crossing. “We had asked the BMC to cover up the nullah and make a footpath on it for safety reasons, but they failed to do it. That is why we protested,” said Sameer Shaikh, a resident of the building.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by the residents, an official from BMC Bridges department claimed no such demand was made in the past. After local corporators intervened, BMC officials have now assured residents that they will look into the matter.
The flyover had been under-construction since 2009 and was supposed to be completed in 2011 by the MMRDA. But, after several delays, the project was handed over to the BMC for completion and the new deadline was set for August 15, 2015.
Though the civic body completed the project on time, a political tug-of-war delayed its inauguration by almost a month. This inconvenienced commuters greatly since level crossings no 24 and 25 in Jogeshwari had been shut, severely affecting the east-west connectivity.