Navi Mumbai, pitched as a 21st century city, is apparently losing its sheen since the past few years due to potholed roads — thanks to an alleged nexus between corrupt contractors and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) officials, allege Shiv Sena party workers.
Angered by the lethargic attitude of NMMC officials, Sena workers armed with cement, sand and bricks marched to the city engineer’s cabin yesterday, to protest the negligence in fixing potholes. According to Sena workers, despite frequent complaints by residents and various political parties about the bad condition of the roads, the NMMC engineering department has neither acted on repairing potholes, nor have they penalised errant contractors for poor maintenance of roads.
At 1 pm, Sena party workers marched into city engineer Mohan Dagaonkar’s cabin in order to chuck the construction materials on the floor to express their protest against his failure in fixing potholes.
However, Navi Mumbai policemen, who were present at the spot, seized the plastic bags and prevented the party workers from doing so.
Vijayanand Mane, Shiv Sena leader of the opposition, said “We wanted to throw cement on the floor, but the police stopped us. How can NMMC fail to ensure pothole-free roads when crores are being spent on construction and maintenance of roads? We know that complicity between the contractors and corrupt NMMC engineers is responsible for the bad condition of roads. If the roads are not repaired properly in the next few days, we will lead a huge protest rally to the corporation.”
Mohan Dagaonkar, who was visibly shocked due to the unusual protest, promised that all potholes would be filled at the earliest. “We will ensure that all potholes will be fixed in the next few days. I will also ensure that contractors, who look after maintenance of some of the roads, repair the potholes appropriately. If the contractors fail to fix potholes immediately, we will take suitable action against them. We will even register criminal offence against them,” said Dagaonkar.
When asked about expenses being incurred by NMMC for maintenance of roads, Dagaonkar refused to divulge anything.