Give highway to us, NMMC mayor writes to CM

With the condition of the arterial Sion-Panvel Highway deteriorating by the day as the monsoon progresses, Navi Mumbai Mayor Jaywant Sutar has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to transfer maintenance to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC).

Mr. Sutar, an NCP leader, said, “The condition of the road is going from bad to worse, and NMMC is getting a bad name. The common man thinks we are responsible for the highway, but it is under the PWD. In October 2017, a proposal for taking over Sion-Panvel Highway was passed by the NMMC general body. We had written to the State government then too. As there has been no response, I have sent a reminder. If needed, I will meet the CM in person.”

On Monday, heavy rain coupled with dozens of potholes on the Sion-Panvel Highway to cause a day-long traffic snarl, leaving thousands of vehicles struggling. API Praveen Pandey, Kharghar Traffic Unit, said, “Due to potholes, traffic was backed up and moving at a snail’s pace. Waterlogging at Kopra in Kharghar made it worse, with vehicular traffic trying to avoid that stretch. Traffic was diverted from Belpada. Being a Monday, traffic going towards Mumbai was huge.”

Traffic cops step in

Meanwhile, the Navi Mumbai Traffic Police has been filling up potholes since the monsoon started to avoid untoward incidents. Senior PI Satish Gaikwad, Vashi Traffic Unit, said, “We’ve been taking help from construction workers and people transporting sand to fill the potholes. Our staff also joins them in the work. We are forced to do what PWD should be doing to avoid untoward incidents. But these steps are temporary, as potholes resurface after a few heavy showers.”

The Traffic Police has been writing to the PWD for pre-monsoon maintanance, but has received no response, senior officers said. A PWD official, who declined to be named, said no pre-monsoon work had been done as their Annual Maintanance Contract (AMC) tender had no takers among road contractors. “After the Sion Panvel Tollways Private Limited (SPTPL) exited their contract with us in December 2017, we haven’t found another agency to take up the contract. However, there has been reponse to the contract for concretising the road, which will be finalised very soon.”

After photographs of the massive traffic snarls on highway began doing the rounds on social media, four PWD teams were formed to repair potholes at Turbhe, Vashi, Uran Phata bridge and Kopra bridge.

We are forced to do what PWD should be doing to avoid untoward incidents. But these steps are temporarySatish GaikwadSenior PI, Vashi Traffic Unit

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