Mumbai is an expensive affair. House costs or rent and commuting slowly sap the budget. No wonder, a large population over the years moved to its periphery – the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), with cheaper real estate and reliable connectivity. The pandemic, though, tossed the middle-class and the poor in MMR completely out of the liveable index.
The trains came to a halt for the longest time in the history of the city. The buses took hours to transport people to places of work. And life came to a standstill on roads that were riddled with potholes.
Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara section became an inexplicable nightmare. The motorists traveling on the Nashik-Bhiwandi-Mumbai highway still spend hours in traffic.
There are 42 lakh vehicles in Mumbai registered at the four RTOs of Borivali, Tardeo, Andheri and Wadala. If one considers Navi Mumbai, Thane, Vasai-Virar and Kalyan-Dombivali and beyond, the number of vehicles will surpass 60 lakh across MMR. To make matters worse, motorists are spending at least four to five hours each day travelling on potholed-roads.
Recently, videos and pictures of three youngsters boating on Bhiwandi Wada Road went viral on social media. Kalpesh Gawale, Vicky Dinkar and Amol Chaudhari wanted to attract attention to the plight of motorists with their unique protest.
Though people were happy that they got Bhiwandi resident Kapil Patil as their Union minister, the road situation outside his bungalow is no different. Free Press Journal tried to contact Kapil Patil, but he was busy with a programme in Bhiwandi at the time.
A Bhiwandi resident said, “Motorcyclists are the most affected. When they slow down near a pothole, they get knocked down by heavy vehicles behind them.”
Repeated complaints on social media drew the attention of Thane commissioner of police Jaijeet Singh but the situation improves only when ministers or senior officials travel on certain stretches.
Senior police inspector Suresh Lambhate agrees there are regular complaints on social media regarding potholes and traffic. “At present, there are potholes on the Kharegaon creek bridge and Saket bridge. We have been demanding that the potholes be filled up. Sometimes our staff does it on their own. But people should approach the authorities concerned.”
Ramchandra Dongre, executive engineer of MSRDC (Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation) said the corporation was given the task to repair the road two months ago. “We carried out the repair work, but it lasted only 15 days due to heavy rainfall.” Agreeing that the roads are in a pathetic condition, he said six teams have been formed for day-and-night repair work. He added that roads in Thane and Ghodbunder area six to eight lanes. “Traffic from Ghodbunder Road, Mumbra and Navi Mumbai meets at a single point. There is a bottleneck at Kasheli bridge with two lanes. However, potholes cause traffic jams. We are working on making it a four-lane road,” he said.