Lapata Sadak Movement: Mumbai March Slams BMC Inaction On Missing Roads Crisis

Lapata Sadak Movement: Mumbai March Slams BMC Inaction On Missing Roads Crisis

This movement, spearheaded by a citizen group known as Mumbai March, aims to address the city's escalating traffic woes by advocating for the construction of long-awaited Development Plan (DP) roads.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 12:42 AM IST
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In a resounding display reminiscent of the iconic Dandi March, Mumbaikars have launched a fervent protest against the persisting issue of Missing Roads. This movement, spearheaded by a citizen group known as Mumbai March, aims to address the city's escalating traffic woes by advocating for the construction of long-awaited Development Plan (DP) roads.

Mumbai March's marathon

Traversing a staggering 51 kilometres in a symbolic gesture of solidarity, Mumbai March embarked on a marathon walk from Dahisar Check Naka to Powai Lake. This 12-hour endeavour, commencing at 7 am and culminating at 7 pm, traversed key areas including Borivali, Kandivali, Mahim, and Dharavi.

Gopal Jhaveri, founder of Mumbai March, emphasised the urgency of addressing Mumbai's traffic crisis, stating, "We've been dedicated to resolving the issue of missing roads since 2020, tracing back to Mumbai's initial development plan in 1967. Despite over five decades passing, the city's traffic conditions have only deteriorated, with significant fuel wastage and heightened stress levels among residents."

Core issues affecting development

"While infrastructure projects like bridges and the metro are underway, the core issue persists. Our streets are overburdened, leading to a plethora of bottlenecks, particularly in the western suburbs, exacerbating congestion. Our 'satyagrah' walkathon mirrors historical acts of civil disobedience, urging authorities to heed our demand for swift implementation of development plans, which we believe will offer a lasting solution to Mumbai's traffic woes."

In the western suburbs of Mumbai, more than 250 bottlenecks have been identified, causing significant traffic congestion along major arteries such as the Western Express Highway, SV Road, and link road. The absence of road links at these critical spots exacerbates the traffic woes, particularly evident at Mahim Junction and Dharavi T junction, leading to increased vehicular load on existing routes like Mahim Causeway and Bandra Station Road.

Additionally, while 22 tracks exist on roads, an equal number are planned but remain unexecuted, highlighting a missed opportunity to double the road surface area. Proposed road projects, like the one connecting Tulsi Pipe Road extension to Bandra, remain unrealized, contributing further to congestion. Despite efforts including exhibitions, awareness camps, and engagements with authorities, implementation of solutions has yet to materialize, leaving commuters in the lurch.

Dr. Hitendra Mehta, a Mumbai Marcher, remarked, "It stands as a poignant reminder to authorities regarding the breached development plan. Just as rivers depicted on maps fail to quench thirst, mere road outlines, flyovers, and tunnels do not alleviate traffic woes." He underscored the pressing need for plan implementation, despite the ongoing construction of infrastructure projects. Dr. Mehta expressed hope that the walkathon would catalyze authorities to prioritize the construction of missing roads, thereby mitigating congestion and ensuring seamless travel for all citizens."

To facilitate better understanding for senior civic officials, a 3D model of the western suburbs as per the DP 2034 has been meticulously crafted. Avinash Thatwani, another founding member of Mumbai March, elaborated on the process of identifying problem areas, stating that members conduct thorough inspections of DP roads to pinpoint bottlenecks and propose viable solutions.

They subsequently engage with public representatives or civic officials to initiate action. Thawani shed light on the fragmented nature of many DP roads, which often begin and end abruptly. He highlighted that the civic body constructs roads wherever land is available, often leading to issues with encroachments or informal settlements. Thawani emphasized that resolving these issues through government-led rehabilitation efforts would pave the way for the development of roads in these areas.

Mumbai March's solution to alleviate traffic congestion

The Mumbai March group has proposed a solution to alleviate the traffic congestion at Borivali railway station East. They suggest that rehabilitating just 69 slums could ease the congestion caused by the heavy traffic flow from over 1,600 BEST buses, State Transport buses, auto rickshaws, and essential facilities like the police station and railway station.

Additionally, implementing a parallel road, as outlined in the Development Plan (DP), could effectively address the congestion issue. Despite some of these solutions being included in the DP for over 50 years without development, Mumbai March organized a 51-kilometer walk to highlight the bottlenecks to the authorities. Among the notable issues are the convergence of three major roads at Mahim Causeway, the absence of a bridge connecting Tulsi Pipeline Road to Bandra station, and the proposed road in Dharavi, which remains unbuilt despite its inclusion in the DP.

As the city grapples with ever-growing congestion, Mumbai March, a coalition of concerned citizens, has taken proactive steps to address the issue by advocating for the long-awaited implementation of the Development Plan (DP) 2034. They firmly believe that the construction of these planned roads is the key to easing Mumbai's traffic gridlock. Through their 'Lapata Sadak' (Missing Road) initiative, Mumbai March endeavors to urge the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prioritize the construction of these vital DP roads.

A Development Plan, or DP, serves as a blueprint for a city's development, aimed at enhancing liveability and infrastructure. With their persistent efforts, Mumbai March aims to pave the way for smoother and more efficient transportation networks in the city.

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