Maharashtra Assembly Polls: NOTA threat successful, road repair works undertaken in Navi Mumbai

Updated: Oct 17, 2019, 08:48 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Navi Mumbai

With scores of residential buildings threatening to collectively boycott polls, netas get work done

A road being repaired in Kharghar
A road being repaired in Kharghar

The decision of locals to opt for NOTA has predictably not gone down well with candidates contesting the assembly elections from Panvel constituency. This was clear on Wednesday, when road repair work was undertaken on a war footing in Kharghar, Kalamboli, Kamothe and Panvel.

Residents believe that the road surfacing work being carried out hurriedly is an attempt to cover politicians' failure to deliver basic civic amenities, less than a week before the election. mid-day, in its article titled, Why NOTA is trending in Panvel homes, dated October 15, had raised the residents' concerns and the reason they wanted to opt for NOTA in the assembly election.

Speaking to mid-day, Mangal Kamble, 50, a former school principal, who is also president of Swach Kharghar Foundation (SKF), said, "We have never witnessed such swift action on our issues before. Since Wednesday morning, the resurfacing of pothole-ridden roads in Kharghar, is on in 5-6 places, on a war footing. It is evident that the NOTA message has reached those concerned and they are fully aware that people of Kharghar, Roadpali, Kalamboli and Kamothe are angry with the shoddy work that their elected representative had done in the past five years."

NOTA hi hoga

Kamble added, "With less than a week left for the elections, the candidates are keen to send a message to the public to rethink their decision on NOTA, but we want to let them know that we are firm on it. The resurfacing of roads may be completed, but footpaths, water scarcity and other basic amenities continue to be our concern."

Kamble claimed that some societies in Kalamboli, which had also had put up banners expressing their concerns, had plainclothes policemen visiting residents and inquiring about the same. "We presume that they were concerned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kharghar on Wednesday, and if at all residents intended to hold a protest rally,' she said.

Most of the residents echoed a similar view on NOTA. Groups on social media were flooded with messages which read, "Let us keep our NOTA movement going. We will not get carried away by little work here and there." "Whatever work is happening in Kharghar at present, is due to pressure from the chief minister. Tweets and news articles are working," said yet another resident.

Residents not told about work

A resident of sector 4, Kharghar pointed out that the road resurfacing work began without locals being informed about it. Hence many private vehicles that were parked on the roads created a hindrance. He said, "The road resurfacing work started around 12 noon on Wednesday. But as many residents do not have parking inside the societies, this created a hiccup. I had to ask our society security guard to go to residences and ask people to move as many vehicles as possible, so the road work could be done smoothly. The contractor should have informed residents at least a day before starting the work. As some vehicles were not moved, I am sure the resurfacing work will be shoddy in patches."

'Cops did not visit societies'

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 2) Ashok Dudhe refuted the claim that police personnel visited any residential society. He also said that no untoward incident was reported during the PM's visit in Kharghar.

The other side

Sitting MLA and BJP candidate, Prashant Thakur, from 188 Panvel Constituency claimed that tenders for the road resurfacing work across the constituencies (Kharghar, Kalamboli, Kamothe and Panvel) were given before the start of the monsoon. He said, "The work was to begin soon after Ganesh Chaturthi but it got delayed due to the extended monsoon and so was started on Wednesday."

Asked to elaborate, Thakur explained, "All roads which come under CIDCO in the constituency, will be resurfaced before they are handed over to the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) in next six months time and resurfacing work is part of that process." He also said that CIDCO has to handover 270 plots across Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalamboli and Panvel to PMC, where there will be a smart city concept with planned hawker zone, plots for recreation and a garden.

He also said that tenders have been floated to have two balancing water reservoirs. But since the price quoted was almost 64 per cent on the higher side, they will float fresh tenders soon after Diwali and the work is expected to start by December. When asked if these announcements were made in lieu of NOTA, Thakur tried to downplay them, stating, "In a democracy, every one has the right to vote and chose the candidate. I have taken over CIDCO chairmanship a year ago, and did everything possible to escalate the work seen today. The transformation from CIDCO to PMC is in process and once it happens, I am sure that residents will be more than happy with the results. They need to be patient and let the transition period of handing over sail through."

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