Mumbai: The Bombay High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the BMC to immediately take steps to cover manholes between Mulund and Ghatkopar on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH).
The direction was issued by a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja after going through pictures shown by advocate Ruju Thakker of open manholes in the stretch.
“These are all death traps. One may not die but one may fracture bones,” remarked CJ Datta.
Ms Thakker submitted photos during the hearing in a suo moto PIL on potholes in the city. She cited a news report highlighting the death of a 68-year-old woman after falling in an open manhole in Virar. The news report stated that there were several uncovered manholes in Vasai.
An advocate for Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation’s countered that the manhole was only 3 feet deep and sought time to file an affidavit.The court then said they would hear the matter on November 28.
Ms Thakker submitted pictures of manholes of various open manholes on the EEH between Mulund and Ghatkopar. She said, “On the Eastern Express High between Mulund and Ghatkopar there are several open manholes.” They are on the road/footpath dividing the service road and the main EEH, she added.
The court then asked BMC counsel Anil Sakhare if the same was true and asked the civic body to take immediate action to cover the manholes. The BMC has been handed over the EEH from September 29.
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal had assured the HC on September 30 that the corporation will repair the potholes and concretise all city roads in three years. Asking for an update, the HC said it will monitor the compliance every two months.
The judges were informed that the PIL was listed for a hearing on December 1.
To this CJ Datta said: “We don't want you to ask for an extension of time. I have read in the newspaper that certain tenders are cancelled.”
Asking the authorities concerned to file compliance affidavits, CJ Datta said: “We want work to be done.”