JP Rd peppered with potholes, agencies pass the buck

Jan 09, 2013, 07:32 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Last month, social worker Prakash Gidwani skid over an MTNL metal duct cover just 200 meters from Seven Bungalows bus depot while riding his bike.

The bike slipped and hit another car resulting in damage to both vehicles. Gidwani suffered injuries to his neck and right shoulder in the accident.

Prakash Gidwani
Social Worker Prakash Gidwani points towards the shoddy maintenance work on the JP Road in Andheri (West). Roads in Mumbai have taken a pounding due to the ongoing metro rail work. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Realising that the shoddy patchwork might cause more accidents and inconvenience to commuters using JP Road, Gidwani rushed to the Versova police station to register complaint against the contractor doing a shoddy job.

But no complaint has been registered against MMRDA- Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, or the MTNL till date, as none of the agencies are ready to take responsibility for the bad condition of the roads.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Prakash Gidwani alleged, “First I thought it was the job of MMRDA-MMOPL to maintain the JP Road due to the construction of VAG Metro line. However, later I came to know that the spot where I met with the accident was being maintained by MTNL.” One can easily find uneven stretches and mud scattered on the sides of the road at several locations along the stretch between Seven Bungalows and Indian Oil junction.

“No agencies, including the BMC, MMRDA-MMOPL, MTNL and Traffic Department, have shown any concern for repairing the road,” Gidwani said. “I have also written to the BMC, MMRDA-MMOPL, Joint CP Traffic and MTNL highlighting the bad state of affairs but none of the agencies have responded. I also wrote to the Versova Police station asking them to register a case against the agency responsible for the same but till date no action has been taken which shows their lack of concern regarding the wellbeing of citizens.”

MiD DAY took a ride with Gidwani on the JP Road stretch between Seven Bungalows and Indian Oil Junction. We found that the MTNL duct covers had come up in a couple of places, paver blocks were used to fill potholes, water leakage problem at the Four-Bungalows junction and mud was scattered on the side of the east-bound road between Four-Bungalows and Indian Oil junction.

Gidwani said the officials of all agencies were passing the blame on to one another and shirking responsibility. When questioned as to why the road — on which the metro project was going on — was not maintained by MMRDA-MMOPL, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, “The JP road is with MMRDA. If there is any problem along the stretch, we will see to it at the earliest. However, it is wrong to blame MMRDA-MMOPL alone for the same as other agencies should also take care that inconvenience is not caused to motorists on JP Road.”

Gidwani also pointed out that the junction near Bon-Bon was closed for vehicles by MMRDA–MMOPL. The vehicles coming from Model Town going towards Seven Bungalows and Juhu now to go ahead by 200 mt to take a U-turn.

“The ongoing metro rail construction has been causing a lot of inconvenience to the motorists and residents staying along the JP Road. With the closure of the road at Bon-Bon junction, the elderly will have to take a longer route to go towards Seven Bungalows or Juhu. Construction mud is also lying on the road outside the metro car depot. It is the duty of the contractor to see to it that the mud is cleared so that accidents can be avoided.” he said.

An MMOPL official said, “The construction work at ground level was completed by MMOPL in 2011. After a joint site inspection by BMC, MMRDA and MCGM, and the Traffic police, the road was opened. The maintenance of road is now under MMRDA and MCGM. The debris on the road is dumped by contractors working at other sites as the whole of ESIC Nagar and DN Nagar is being redeveloped.” An MMOPL representative had taken Gidwani from P5 to P28 and showed him that all manholes and potholes had not been dug by MMOPL.

“At present, the JP road is with MMRDA and so it is their duty to maintain the road which also includes repairing of potholes and the uneven surfaces,” Assistant Municipal Commissioner Vishvas Shankar Wagh from K-West Ward said.

Blame game
On December 14, Gidwani wrote a letter to MMRDA-MMOPL, Joint CP Traffic, BMC, MTNL and the Versova police station. Till date there has been no official response. After he complained to the Versova police, the contractor, belonging to MMRDA-MMOPL, was called to the police station. They showed Gidwani that the patch where his accident took place was being maintained by MTNL as the duct cover belonged to MTNL. Officials from MTNL were unavailable for comment. 

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