VIP alert: Potholed roads repaired, saplings planted, grass strips laid

It may take the agencies months or even years to improve potholed roads for Mumbaikars. But when it comes to big ticket programmes like Make in India, no stone is left unturned, literally. At the Make in India centre in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), roads have improved overnight, saplings planted, grass strips laid, all within a few days considering the programme is the pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A worker lays grass at the Make in India CentreA worker lays grass at the Make in India Centre

The city is hosting the Make in India week from February 13 to 18 which will see participation of representatives from more than 30 countries. The objective is to attract investment for the city, state, as well as the country. PM Modi will be in town for the event along with some cabinet colleagues. The who’s who of India’s business sector will also be attending it.

When mid-day visited BKC, the venue for the mammoth event, on Thursday, last minute preparations were underway at the MMRDA grounds. The 2,00,000-odd square feet area was decked up with colourful artworks.
The Make in India lion was conspicuous with its presence in every nook and cranny. But the diya symbolising Make in Maharashtra was surprisingly not to be seen. However, the hall for the Make in Maharashtra exhibit was being decked up by workers and artists. A stunning mural of the Ajanta-Ellora caves welcomed people at its entrance. Apart from the placards presenting information of the state, the thing that catches the eye here is a massive mural dedicated to Bollywood. It has the Father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke at the centre, with posters of films such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam around it. This is one of the biggest exhibits. The seminar hall allocated to Make in Mumbai though is small and in a faraway corner. It will have stalwarts from the industry as well as Mayor Snehal Ambekar and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu making a presentation.

The entire ground is divided into more than 25 centres, each with multiple halls, presentation rooms, conference rooms and washrooms. A common road runs through all these. Some of the workers told mid day that the road was resurfaced overnight. About a kilometre long, the cement road was refurbished with asphalt on Wednesday and pressed down with a road-roller. Work was not complete until Thursday evening.

The organisers had even laid down strips of lush green grass on the dividers. The dividers were being painted and repaired. Potted plants had been brought in to dot the venue. The entire venue has been covered with cement paver blocks to the tune of Rs 80 lakh.

Almost 1,000 workers worked at the venue in last minute preparations. Carpentry, painting, welding, fitting and logistical work was going on in full swing.

“Our job was to only put paver blocks. We procured and have placed them. The work has been going on for two months now. They will be removed after the event,” said contractor Mohammad Aleem of Mehek Marbles. Floodlights, street lights, CCTV cameras, speakers, etc are in place.

“This happens every time a President or a Prime Minister is coming. It was done last year also when Modi visited Mumbai for the Science Congress. Since it was done at the last minute, I’m sure the contractor must have charged them a lot,” said civic activist Nikhil Desai.

Official speak
While the roads have been transformed, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar denied it was for the event. He said, “We carry out maintenance of the BKC road from time to time and around the year except in monsoon. So it would be wrong to say that the road is being repaired keeping the event in mind.”

Schedule for February 13
>> 10 am to 1 pm: Inauguration of Make in India centre at MMRDA grounds by PM Modi
>> Launch of Make in India week by the PM at National Sports Club of India (NSCI)
>> 1.30 to 3 PM: Sweden Country Seminar- Smart Manufacturing and Smart cities
>> It will be held at Hall no. 14 and will have Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, MoS for Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and other dignitaries as speakers

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