If the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is to be believed then the commuters on the Mumbai-Nashik highway may get a smoother pothole-free ride after October 25.
The NHAI has assured the Bombay High Court on Monday that they are filling up the potholes on a war footing on the total 121 km stretch from Thane to Nashik and are expected to finish the work by October 24, provided there are no heavy rains during this period.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh, appearing for central government and NHAI, informed a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni which had taken suo moto (on its own) note of the problem on the Mumbai-Nashik highway on September 24 and asked the government to do something immediately and inform about the steps taken to fill the potholes.
Singh told the HC that the repair work on the 24 km stretch between Thane and Vadape is in progress, with three teams working on it and the same will be completed by October 5. “It will be completed by tomorrow unless there is heavy rainfall in the area,” said Singh.
He said that the repair and work on filling up potholes for the rest of the expressway, which is 97 km between Vadape and Nashik will be completed within three weeks. “There are 7 teams working on it. Nearly 4 to 5 km on this stretch is severely damaged. Here too we will try to finish the work in three weeks,” added Singh.
Chief Justice Datta said, “This is patchwork. Everything will be over by October 25?” Singh reiterated that it would be completed unless there is heavy rainfall. During the last hearing, the HC had asked the state government to be “a bit more serious” about the poor condition of highways, where lives are being lost every day owing to potholes. The HC also told Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni that the state should take the issue of potholes seriously.
The court had then asked Singh to look into the issue since the Mumbai-Nashik highway was a part of the Mumbai-Agra highway which comes under the NHAI.
The court asked both the state and the NHAI to converge and try to find a lasting solution. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on October 25 and asked the NHAI to keep them informed on the progress of filling up the potholes.
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