Mumbai: Ajoy Mehta slams Antop Hill police; asks not to malign BMCs image

Sep 15, 2018, 18:00 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Antop Hill police claim that they had repaired the potholes as the BMC was busy; civic authorities allege that the Mumbai Police cops were merely trying to humiliate them with a 'publicity stunt' on a perfectly fine road

Mumbai: Ajoy Mehta slams Antop Hill police; asks not to malign BMCs image
The road near GTB Nagar's Koliwada bridge that the Antop Hill police had repaired. The civic body says it was just an uneven patch, while the local police maintain that it was a potholed stretch. Pic/Atul Kamble

Our business is our business, none of your business: there's nothing the BMC wants to say to the Mumbai police more than this. A couple of weeks ago, the civic body was left red-faced by reports that even the Antop Hill police had become fed-up of potholes and had filled craters near their beat chowkie No. 1. Now, civic chief Ajoy Mehta intends to send a stern message to the cops in return, instructing that the BMC will no longer tend to that spot.

During a review meeting last week, BMC boss Ajoy Mehta instructed additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal to write a strongly-worded letter to the Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Central region, in this case) to convey that henceforth the stretch of road should be looked after by the cops, as the Corporation will no longer look after its maintenance.

Further, Mehta also instructed the ward officials (mid-day accessed a copy of the minutes of the meeting) that they were not to touch that particular spot and let the cops maintain it themselves.

Antop Hill cops said they had witnessed bad accidents caused by a pothole near GTB Nagar’s Koliwada bridge, so they decided to do something about it. Pic/Atul Kamble
Antop Hill cops said they had witnessed bad accidents caused by a pothole near GTB Nagar’s Koliwada bridge, so they decided to do something about it. Pic/Atul Kamble

'Don't malign BMC'
News reports had lauded the Antop Hill police for filling potholes near GTB Nagar's Koliwada bridge at the end of August, and the same reports lambasted the municipal authorities for the state of the city's roads. The reports not only embarrassed the BMC officials, but also caught their attention, as according to the F-north ward officials, there were no potholes on that road.

A civic official who was present at the meeting told mid-day, "There was no pothole on that road, just an undulation (bad patch) owing to the reason that it was the turning point for BEST buses. Mehta said we need to tell the police, 'Mind your own business, don't malign our image'. He was upset about the behaviour of the police department, which was just attempting a publicity stunt."

The cops say
However, Constable Ramesh Bhosale, who was among the five cops who repaired the road, told mid-day: "There was a pothole at that spot, which led to two accidents. One man got severely injured, and that is when we thought of filling the pothole instead of waiting for the BMC, as they are already swamped with work." He denied that it was a publicity stunt, and that most publications has carried misleading pictures with the reports on the incident.

"We never even clicked any pictures while doing the work, leave alone doing it for publicity. There was no intention of maligning the civic body's image, and we were only trying to extend a helping hand to the citizens. We filled it the crater with construction debris, and the next day, BMC workers came and resurfaced the road with tar."

The pothole was filled within 15 minutes and did not cause any traffic congestion. However, civic officials said the cops did not use the right material or technique for the job.

Despite repeated attempts, AMC Singhal, was not available for comment. Regardless of who is at fault in the situation, though, one thing is certain - it is the citizens who will bear the brunt of this blame-game and the ensuing road problems.

Also Read: Mumbaikars Call Out BMC's Bluff, That They Have Filled 90 Percent Potholes

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