Navi Mumbai: Kamothe residents take blocked road to high court

Feb 12, 2018, 18:15 IST | Faisal Tandel

Exit at Kamothe towards Mumbai on the Sion-Panvel highway has been blocked for four years, leading to daily chaos at the spot

For over four years, the road connecting Mumbai and Kamothe has been closed. File Pic
For over four years, the road connecting Mumbai and Kamothe has been closed. File Pic

FED up of the commuting difficulties they have faced for almost four years due to the closed Kamothe exit towards Mumbai below the Sion-Panvel highway, the residents of the area have taken their protest to the high court. The closed exit forces motorists to travel an extra kilometre and take a U-turn to reach the flyover to Mumbai.

The public works department (PWD), which is in charge of the Sion-Panvel highway, claims that there's no way to open the exit, as the forest department refuses to give them permission for widening the road, which is lined by mangroves on both sides.

No solution at sight
Meenal Kadam Shinde, president of Women Cell for Raigad District of Conscious Citizen Forum and Non-Government Organisation along with Urvashi Chawhan, treasurer of the forum, filed the PIL on February 1. "We held a general body meeting on January 28, 2018, and decided to file the petition. The closed exit forces people to take a wrong route towards Mumbai. Earlier, the road was open, but after construction of the flyover started, it was shut down. A number of protests have been carried out in the past, but nothing has been done to reopen the exit. The authorities should solve this problem at the earliest." She further said that they have approached the chief minister, transport minister, National Highway Authority of India, commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai, municipal commissioner of Navi Mumbai and Panvel and other local authorities with the complaint. According to sources, the Kalamboli traffic unit has sent more than 10 letters to the PWD engineers, asking them to reopen the exit, but nothing has been done in this regard.

A screenshot of the route map
A screenshot of the route map

Gorakh Patil, senior police inspector, Kalamboli traffic unit, said, "It's very difficult to manage traffic in the area now. We have deployed five constables at the point where people take the wrong turn, to deter them. We cannot blame the Kamothe residents entirely, as they are forced to use the route. There has to be some solution to this."

Dense mangroves
When mid-day visited the spot, the Kamothe exit road towards Mumbai was found to be dug-up, with dense mangrove patches along both the sides. R T Patil, superintendent engineer, PWD and Sion-Panvel Highway, confirmed that repair work of the exit had been stopped as they had not got permission from the forest department. "Even if we get the forest department's nod, further environment clearances are also necessary."

They have applied for the forest department's permission online. "The process will take time," he added.

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