Shiv Sena’s agitation on Mumbai-Pune Expressway demanding the creation of service roads from both sides of the thoroughfare created major traffic chaos yesterday. Party workers organised a protest at Urse toll plaza, insisting on better safety measures on e-way in the backdrop of increasing number of fatal accidents.
A mishap on Monday claimed five lives and became the fourth major accident on the expressway over the last one month. Sena’s protest, however, proved harrowing for commuters who were stuck in jams for more than hour. Along with service roads, Sena protesters also demanded the establishment of emergency police help centre, road repairs and creation of over bridge on e-way.
While speaking on the issue, Sena district president Machhindra Kharade claimed that although commuters had to face problems, they didn’t complain as the party was fighting for their cause.
“I have been personally demanding improved safety measures on e-way since its inception. However, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd. (MSRDC) seems unconcerned about the safety of commuters,” Kharade said.
He added that state home minister RR Patil had visited the e-way a few days ago after the fatal accident on Monday. “But it seems the visit was just a farce as no concrete steps have been taken to fix the poorly planned dividers, which are causing the mishaps.
Reacting on this, deputy superintendent of police of Dehu Road division Vinayak Dhakane said that a case has been registered against the Sainiks. “We appealed to them to stop the protest. However, they started shouting slogans. So, we had to file a case against them,” he said. It is learnt that there was a verbal spat between Sena workers and police.
The protest ended when senior officers of Ideal Road Builders (IRB) promised the Sainiks to arrange a meeting between the latter and higher authorities of MSRDC.