Thane residents gather in silence to poke holes in pothole-filling claims
Civic authorities say ongoing work on filling potholes is hampered by rain and waterlogging
Fed up with the pothole menace on Ghodbunder Road in Thane, residents of Anand Nagar came together on Sunday for a silent protest, demanding a solution to the issue that has made their life hell for the last few months. Meanwhile, civic authorities maintained that the work of filling potholes on roads worsened by rain and water logging is ongoing. Speaking about Sunday's protest, Kasber Augustine, president of the Thane Citizens' foundation said, "Our protest was regarding the potholes all across Thane and how Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has not done the required repairs to fill them. The Ghodbunder service road and the internal road have big potholes. Citizens are facing a lot of problems, with many falling into potholes and getting injured. We demand that before the Ganpati celebrations commence, all pothole should be repaired. The Thane municipal commissioner should act fast and solve this issue faced by lakhs of Thane residents."
'Where's the accountability?'
Dhananjay Redkar, another Ghodbunder Road resident, said, "Transit on Ghodbunder road and adjoining areas has become dangerous for the residents due to the precarious condition of the road. All roads are full of potholes and this is a result of bad planning and poor execution. Citizens assembled today to attract the attention of the authorities to the hardships they are facing every day and make a simple demand: repair the roads quickly and in a manner which will make them durable."
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A member of the Ghodbunder Residents' Forum and Thane Citizens' Foundation said the initiative came about after seeing women, schoolchildren, office-going people and senior citizens put themselves through the arduous task of dodging potholes on the road, which could resemble a stunt on the show Khatron Ke Khiladi, just to go about their daily business.
"Women were especially concerned because they have to use the roads several times for dropping their children to school, tuition classes and for other daily activities. Even walking on these roads is no longer safe and there have been many accidents recently. A five-year-old boy lost his life after falling from a bike due to the bad condition of the road. Who is responsible for his death? Isn't there any accountability from the [Thane Municipal] corporation and its contractors?" asked a resident. The assembled citizens demanded a permanent solution to the roads that are allegedly dug up by one department and shoddily repaired by another only to start resembling a battlefield. The areas around Vijay Garden and the service road from Waghbil were dug up in January by two separate departments at different times. After several protests, they were repaired just before the rains arrived in June. Such was the poor quality of work and lack of planning that the repaired roads didn't even last a week. To this end, citizens asked all authorities concerned to give proper attention to the problem and come up with a joint effort to create a long-lasting solution to safeguard lives.
On Sunday, the Thane Matdata Jagran Abhiyan also held a silent rally at the spot on Ghodbunder Road where a five-year-old boy lost his life due to an uneven road. Residents and volunteers of the NGO demanded a permanent solution for better infrastructure facilities. They will complaint against the related authority if action is not implemented immediately.
Inquiry and plaint
"While the contractor has only done half the work, MSRDC officials have also not cross-checked, which has led to inconvenience for commuters and residents. We demand a proper inquiry and a complaint against the contractor and official involved," said Sanjiv Sane, president, Thane Matdata Jagran Abhiyan. "We hope the city of lakes will not be called a city of potholes. Our patience is running thin; there is no point having Eknath Shinde as the guardian minister for the Public Works Department (PWD). He should look into the work of MSRDC. No efforts to improve our roads have been undertaken," said Chetna Dixit, secretary, Thane Matdata Jagran Abhiyan.
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