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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai pothole free in two years says CM Eknath Shinde

Mumbai pothole free in two years, says CM Eknath Shinde

Updated on: 21 June,2024 11:05 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

Marine Drive under the flyover beautification initiative sees State bigwigs at site; Actor Jaggu Dada’s entry sparks Friday morning first day, first show frenzy

Mumbai pothole free in two years, says CM Eknath Shinde

Eknath Shinde with Devendra Fadnavis at the inauguration. Pic/ Anurag Ahire

The inaugural ceremony of the Marine Drive Under-Flyover Beautification project stopped the promenade’s walkers and joggers mid-stride early Friday morning. A portion underneath the Marine Drive flyover, opposite the Gymkhanas, had been beautified with a strip of grass, some flower beds in the midst of which spouted fountains, leading up to the artwork and installations, which were the showpiece of the initiative. Chief minister Eknath Shinde, chief guest and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, inaugurated the beautification project. The initiative is by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Shaina NC carrying on the legacy, in memory of her late father former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama.

Khadda -mukt Mumbai

Shinde started his speech by congratulating those associated with the effort and then remarked, “It is not raining here at all. Thane is witnessing very heavy rains. I am happy to see this beautification. Shaina is carrying on the legacy of her father who had contributed towards a clean ‘n’ green Mumbai.” The crowd gathered started laughing as he said, “Devendra Fadnavis has just finished doing yoga and is here.” Friday, June 21 is International Yoga Day. Shinde said about the state government’s work, “We have started deep cleaning which has brought down air pollution. We have also started concretizing roads so that Mumbai will be pothole free in the next two years. We will see a traffic, garbage, pothole and pollution free Mumbai,” he stated. The CM added that this beautification was needed as, “sites under flyovers often become dumping grounds.” He came back to pothole-free paradise then as he added, “We want a khadda- mukt Mumbai, and then, nobody will be able to make songs about Mumbai potholes. Hadn’t somebody made a song about it?” he asked people around, as people smiled. Shinde was referring obviously to some years ago, when a Radio Jockey’s (RJ) monsoon song about Mumbai potholes had become a super hit and garnered much laughs, publicity and some controversy. The CM also reminded people that they were making, “an urban forest in Mumbai.” He then went back to yoga, advising people, “not to do yoga just one day of the year, but make it part of your life,” crediting the PM Narendra Modi for bringing in global awareness and awakening about yoga. He signed off with a flourish, “karo yog, raho nirog” (do yoga, remain disease free).

A celebration

Prior to the CM’s address there was already a curious crowd on location, including Marine Drive residents who were getting their cardio dose. A walker who had stopped to witness the preparations for the event said, “I hope all this upliftment is for the entire flyover,” while a resident interjected, “I believe the fountains are on only till the VIPs are here, they will be removed afterwards,” while her companion scoffed, “typical.”

Yet, this was not just about cynicism but celebration too. Abhishek Bekal, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Baaya Designs, which created and conceptualized the beautification explained that the 11 metal pillars, “are more than just art installations, they celebrate Mumbai's cultural heritage and urban beauty.” These installations had yoga poses, adorned with intricate Warli paintings and mosaic work. “The heights are varied to create a dynamic, visual experience,” said Bekal as he added, “The Warli art tells a Maharashtra story.” Project supporters, Prime Securities team, were at the location, soaking in the moments as N Jayakumar, Group CEO said, “This is a high visibility spot, the route to workplaces in SoBo. We need aesthetics and appeal going along with efficiency and functionality in the city. We have something similar outside the Willingdon Club (Haji Ali) too.” The Managing Director (MD) Arun Shah explained, “The intersectionality of history and culture and modernity, defines the character of the megapolis. These installations capture that confluence.” There was BMC Chief Bhushan Gagrani who looked like he was ready to join the Marine Drive runners in his red Nike T-shirt. Gagrani said, “An old, unused toilet block a little further away had been dismantled. We wanted to beautify this spot and create an eye-catching work for the city.” Shaina NC added that the installations, “were made of recycled material.”

Mumbai ish-tyle

Several yoga practitioners were also at the ceremony, yoga mats rolled up under one arm, peering curiously at the goings on. Marine Drive was dotted with several groups practicing specially to commemorate the day, and asanas over, they had made their way to the inauguration. It was Jaggu Dada though, actor Jackie Shroff, who created a Friday first day, first show like frenzy when he arrived a little earlier than the CM and the deputy CM.  In his ‘dabbawala’ cap and easy-breezy attire Jaggu Dada was at his Mumbai-ishtyle best as he said, “yeh apun ka Mumbai hai, apun ka area.” The actor who is now seen on YouTube speaking about favourite childhood foods and reeling out different recipes, regaling viewers in typical Jaggu style, “hilaana nahi, hilatay toh game baj jaati hai’’ (do not stir the pot, if you do so the food will get spoilt) proved he still had his game on, as people hooted and shouted and it rained selfie requests. Shroff added, “Yeh apun ka gang hai,” and then gave a serious message about, “not discarding plastic carelessly, Mumbai dustbin nahi hai,” (Mumbai is not a dustbin). Yes bhidu, as Jaggu dada himself would say, as bhidu is also part of his typical lexicon. It was a Friday morning of beauty, benefactors, bigwigs of the political kind and Bollywood bhidus.

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