Mumbai: To ply a vehicle on the LBS (Lal Bahadur Shastri), a major arterial road in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai on the stretch of Bhandup Signal up to Gandhinahar Junction has become a nightmare for motorists. Traffic throughout the day is taking a toll on their health apart from wastage of time and energy says residents living here.
Life has changed after metro 4 (Wadala to Kasarvadavli in Thane) work started. The barricades including 9-metre-wide were put up two years ago. The median is covered and there is little space left on the carriage road. The slow civil construction is adding to the woes, claimed Shirish Daudkhane, a resident of Mahindra Splendour CHS, adjoining the LBS Road.
Speaking to the FPJ, he said a beeline of vehicles is seen during morning and evening peak hours. “Most of the time I listen ambulance chiming alarm but the traffic here is too heavy that no one can help even if they wish so. There is no way to give a way to the ambulance or fire engine. What will happen during emergency I wonder?” exclaimed Daudkhane?
He asserted of total four year contract period usually for any civil work which involves pilling, pier construction work two years of time is given. While next two years time is given for station construction work which includes station furniture, track laying etc. However, the contractor has lapsed his deadline since he is still carrying out the pilling and pier construction work. Moreover, when asked the metro general consultant they cite due to underground utility lines the work has been delayed. Besides, metro barricading, potholes ridden roads, poor footpath has made the situation worse, Daudkhane added, who works as a consultant in oil-gas industry.
Another resident named Snehal Basrur, a homemaker and resident of Great Eastern Garden located adjoining the LBS expressed disappointed over MMRDA’s metro 4 construction work at her place. Raising questions she said is this how the city is upgrading? "There is zero co-ordination between corporation, MMRDA and the contractor. Whenever the contractors are asked why the metro work is progressing so slowly they say there are water-pipelines, so the work has delayed as they are yet to get permission from BMC. Why can’t the officials of different agencies can sit together and address the issue? Moreover, the metro consultant claims while carrying out soil testing they got to know about the underground utilities. Is this how they work? Before putting barricades why don’t they get all the permissions first and then start the work. The LBS is a trunk road but today it takes hours to reach from one point to another,” she stated.
Caroline a Netherlands citizen living in the same building too expressed her anguish over daily traffic chaos. “The struggle starts from the building gate itself. Due to the beeline of vehicles on the road to take out vehicles from our building premises take a lot of time.”
Interestingly to resolve the daily traffic issue apart from other civic amenities all residents have come together and formed an Advance Locality Management (ALM) which is named as Bhandup Kanjur Clean ALM. Initially there were only six members in the ALM but due to rising inconvenience several other residents too joined the group to raise their voice.
Around 2,000 families, who live along the LBS Marg in societies such as Gundecha Heights, Gundecha Athura and Great Eastern Garden, have been inconvenienced by the ongoing metro work.
The residents besides facing traffic chaos at LBS are worrying that for the ongoing Metro 6 (Lokhandwala-Jogeshwari-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg) the left turn at Gandhinagar junction connecting to eastern Express Highway too will be closed.
Following which the motorists will have to go to Nahur to reach EEH or take a right turn from Gandhinagar Junction till Indian Institute of Technology market and then take a you-turn to reach EEH making their travelling more appalling. Therefore, the residents now want the authority to prepare a traffic assement plan and then go ahead with any road diversion only after providing necessary traffic arrangements.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority(MMRDA) which is a nodal agency for the Metro -4 when asked about the Metro 4 work progress at LBS stretch, the official replied that total 11 per cent of work has been completed in this package 10 and barricading is installed for 4.8 km of stretch. Moreover, till date 77 per cent of the piling work and 40 per cent of pier construction work has been completed. Besides this, U shape girder and pier cap installation work is also started in this package, the authority informed.
Further stating that approximately 350metre length shifting of 750 diametre of water pipeline is involved for which permission is received from BMC. Moreover, the pipeline laying work is completed near Naval housing station.
One cross connection and one booster connection approval is awaited from BMC.
The consortium of Reliance-ASTALDI has been awarded the contract of this metro -4 stretch. When this newspaper reporter reached the public relation team they did not provide any reply on the queries sent through email.
MP Manoj Kotak writes letter to MMRDA over Metro barricading:
Due to repeated complaints made by the residents Member of Parliament Manoj Kotak in January 27 has written letter to MMRDA Metro 4 officials. Wherein in the letter MP Kotak has asked for schedule to remove the metro barricades. Further suggesting that if the metro work is stopped during monsoon, the barricading should also to be removed temporarily to improve traffic situation.