Adivashi has been reporting about an against the proposed toll tax at Kharghar. All political parties have held demonstrations with some top leaders trooping in. Post the MNS agitation against toll booths and vandalisation of some, all political parties have been literally waiting for a chance to play their bit as protestors. The Navi Mumbai police have also cautioned the other authorities that the toll issue could lead to law and order problem and called for an early settlement to the socio-economic problem.

Now, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has decided to scrap the Kharghar booth and asked CIDCO  to pay up Rs 1200 crores to the contractor consortium to compensate for its upfront payment made to the PWD which took the toll way to recover its expenditure on the expansion of Sion-Panvel Highway.

The highway expansion into 10-lanes and the five flyovers and some underpasses that came in the bargain have all contributed to smooth flow of traffic. With this, one can hit the Pune Expressway within an hour from Mumbai by taking the Eastern Freeway and the expanded highway.

But for a nine km patch between Mankhurd and the Vashi creek bridge, a large chunk of the expanded highway passes through Navi Mumbai. Navi Mumbaikars already pay entry and exit taxes at Vashi toll plaza and the Kharghar booth would have been an extra burden on them.

There have also been complaints that Navi Mumbai, created to decongest Mumbai, is one of the most taxed cities as people here pay more for power, water, petrol and even medicines than their Mumbai counterparts.

The Pandavkada waterfalls site has emerged as a popular picnic spot during the monsoon. There have also been deaths in the waterfalls – 24 in nine years from 2003. Many suggested regulation of the flow of monsoon revelers – something that is impractical to do. The area, under CIDCO jurisdiction till recently, has now been transferred to the Forest Department which plans some kind of an entry fee to ensure that all security measures will become self-sufficient. There is also a belief that the payment will ensure responsible behaviour on part of those who jump in to enjoy the monsoon falls. Isn’t it rightly said that there is no value for what comes free?

The forest department is mulling over collecting Rs 50 per head for Pandavkada Waterfall entry.

More than imposing the tax, the authorities will have to be very strict about people drinking liquor in their vehicles. It was only Sunday that six youths died at Murud beach after they had drinks.

Talking of the monsoon, Navi Mumbai is better placed than Mumbai as far as drinking water supply goes. NMMC owns the Morbe dam which has enough water to take of the city for four months. While Mumbai has water cuts, Navi Mumbai doesn’t have to worry – at least the NMMC administered area from Dighe to Belapur.

Meanwhile, NMMC has also taken a welcome decision to supply water treated at sewer stations for maintaining gardens. Seawoods-Phase ll residents will get the treated sewer water as the first step. This will obviously ensure saving of precious drinking water. NMMC teats some 180 million litre of water and about one million litres will be sold to Seawoods.

Be that as it may, Adivashi was rather shocked to see NMMC contractors spraying water on plants on road dividers at Vashi on last Thursday night when it was raining!

Navi Mumbai has also been facing erratic power cuts and residents complain that it has been happening without any warning from MSEDCL, particularly in the rural areas in the city.

There is no rest in peace for the kin of the dead at various crematoriums or at least this the impression one gets when one hears complaints of improper management of the facilities.

The wood logs are damp and some people are forced to pay for kerosene and other material which are supposed to given free to the poor. Also, the exhaust fans are crematoriums are malfunctioning, Raju Shinde, a Vashi corporator complains. NMMC on its part assures that its Vision Crematorium will be executed by December, covering all the 26 facilities under its jurisdiction.

Here is some good news for those alighting at T2, Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Mumbai. BEST launched its AC buses from T2 Belapur via Vashi. This service will initially be available from 8.35 PM to 2.35 AM with an hourly frequency. The fare is Rs 150 to Vashi and Rs 180 to Belapur.

This is the 80th in a series on Navi Mumbai by veteran media professional B N Kumar, a long-time resident of Mumbai’s twin city. He can be contacted at:

B N Kumar

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