Pothole menace in Mumbai: MNS to take to streets with drums

Jul 08, 2016, 08:24 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar and Tanvi Deshpande

MNS will take to the streets with dhol tashe today, to protest the authorities apathy towards the pothole menace

As the authorities have so far turned a deaf ear to complaints about potholes, the MNS has decided to turn up the volume today, when the party will take to the streets with a ‘band baaja’ protest.

MNS hopes to catch the BMC’s attention with a loud dhol-tasha march across the pothole-ridden streets of Mumbai. File pic for representation
MNS hopes to catch the BMC’s attention with a loud dhol-tasha march across the pothole-ridden streets of Mumbai. File pic for representation

Party members will play the dhol-tasha on the streets to protest against civic officials not repairing potholes in their ward, including prominent areas like Dadar and Borivli, which have MNS corporators.

“BMC claims that there are around 300 potholes in the city. We will expose the administration and show officials that they are downplaying the issue by citing lower numbers of potholes,” said Sandeep Deshpande, party group leader in the BMC, who will join party vice-president Nayan Kadam and other members in the demonstration. “We will make sure that civic officials speak about real numbers of potholes in city,” Kadam told mid-day.

As part of its bid to keep the civic administration on its toes on the issue of potholes in Dadar, MNS corporators also gheraoed the local ward officer, Ramakant Biradar, in his office last morning. When asked about the reason for the rising number of potholes, Biradar stated that the central agency had not provided the necessary material or training for repairs (See box).

Ruckus in the house
Potholes ruled the BMC’s general assembly yesterday, with corporators across party lines slamming the administration. Sena, BJP, MNS, Congress had stinging criticism for the craters that keep reappearing in the city. But the war soon turned out to be between Sena and Congress, after Sena leader Yashodhar Phanse claimed that most of the potholes were on roads contracted under the UPA rule. But he ignored the fact that BMC was ruled by the Sena in that period. Congress struck back with aggressive sloganeering against Shiv Sena.

Dadar ward officer under fire again
Days after MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande threatened to have G-North ward officer Ramakant Biradar kidnapped unless he fixed the pothole issue, the party gheraoed the civic official in his office last morning.

MNS workers gherao Dadar ward officer Ramakant Biradar
MNS workers gherao Dadar ward officer Ramakant Biradar

Following the protest, Biradar wrote to the BMC, demanding that the Roads department send the necessary repair material and explain the standard operating procedure to ward officers. Until this year, it was the Roads department that was responsible for pothole repairs — a duty that has been handed over to local ward offices. “The wards are doing pothole repairs for the first time.

The Roads department should have provided us with an SOP,” Biradar said. “Repairing potholes involves replacing two layers — one is asphalt macadam and the other is a seal coat. The seal coat is very important to seal the asphalt mixture inside the pothole, without which it gets washed away. We have not been provided with this crucial mixture. How can we work if we are not provided the material? And then we have to face the ire of the people,” said Biradar.

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