Officials reveal that with civic elections round the corner, politicians have sent requests to the authority to hurry and finish all pending projects: from fixing potholes on roads to building bridges and rail corridors
The upcoming civic elections have goaded the MMRDA to pull up its socks and try to finish pending construction works and repairs - be it the Metro or Monorail, or flyovers or potholes. The authority has been instructed to expedite work to win back alienated commuters (read voters).
Pre-poll overdrive: Authorities have been asked to clear the roads of
the barricades lying unused and blocking traffic at the Metro
To start with, the MMRDA has sped up work on the northern arm of the Barfiwala flyover in Andheri. "We have instructed the contractor to work round the clock and see to it that the flyover is completed by December as there are instructions regarding the same from higher authorities," informed an MMRDA source, adding, "The politicians want the MMRDA to throw open the northern arm of the flyover by January as it will help them gain voting mileage."
Ditto with the Suman Nagar flyover, funded by MMRDA and being constructed by the MSRDC. An official requesting anonymity said, "Earlier we were planning to open the flyover by January, but we received instructions that we should finish the work and open it in December itself."
Commuter is king?
Further, it seems the newfound pre-election zest of politicians will redeem city's pothole-riddled roads as well. Said the source, "We have been told that we should immediately fill or repair potholes on roads under our jurisdiction, because if we don't, commuters might register their anger during the polls."
MMRDA has been facing criticism for delaying the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail corridor. Andheri residents have been verbally flaying the authority for the diversions it has made due to the ongoing work.
However, the authority has started cleaning the JP Road of the barricades lying on roadsides and impeding traffic. Ditto with the Monorail construction sites along the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur route.
MMRDA is also trying hard to throw open the section of JP Road between Four Bungalows and the Indian Oil junction that has been closed for the last four months owing to the Metro car depot construction.
However, opposition parties plan to use the construction delay as a campaign plank. "During our election campaigning, we will bring it to the notice of the voters in Andheri how the MMRDA messed up the daily life of commuters with their lack of the planning because of which the metro work is moving at a snail's pace," said Shashwat, an Andheri West resident, who is also a member of a political party.