Thane: A social activist from Thane, Swapnil Mahindrakar, along with a group of concerned Thanekars, staged a protest against the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC) in Kharegaon on Friday, August 4. The demonstration was in response to the presence of potholes on National Highway No.3, stretching from Majiwada to Vadape in Thane. As a symbol of their frustration with the authorities' inaction, the protestors presented an image of Kumbhakarna to the MSRDC officials.
During the protest, the group issued a seven-day ultimatum to the authorities, demanding that the potholes be promptly filled, failing which they threatened to escalate the agitation. A memorandum highlighting the issue was handed over to the MSRDC officials.
Work approved in 2018, activist claims
Speaking about the situation, Swapnil Mahindrakar, the social activist, emphasized that the construction of an 8-lane, 23.5 km road from Majiwada to Vadape on National Highway No.3 had been approved back in 2018. However, the project remains incomplete even after five years, with only 30 per cent of the work completed. It is estimated that the work might require an additional two years to be finished. The approved funds for the project amount to 1182 crore, and the longer duration of the work may result in a cost increase.
Mahindrakar further pointed out that the road from Majiwada to Vadape serves as a crucial national highway connecting Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Gujarat, Panvel, Agra, and Rajasthan. Despite its significance, the road has been plagued by large potholes in various areas, including Kharegaon, Mankoli, Pipalner, Vadpe Naka, Yevlinka, and Swagat Bar. This has led to prolonged traffic congestion, with drivers taking three to four hours to cover the distance from Vadpe to Thane. Despite the group's ultimatum to the MSRDC authority to address the potholes, the administration has seemingly ignored the issue.
Ravindra More, another protester and social activist, expressed concern about the increasing number of accidents on the road due to the contractor's negligence and the authorities' lack of action. He also highlighted the absence of a General Manager in the National Highways Office for the past week. More pointed out that even the recently constructed Versova Bridge has encountered issues due to corrupt officials in the National Highways Authority department.
The eight-lane road from Majiwada to Vadape also serves as a connector of Samruddhi Highway, and if the construction is not expedited, vehicles traveling to Thane and Mumbai will suffer the consequences, warned Mahindrakar.