As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) struggled to meet its self-imposed 48-hour deadline to free the city’s streets of potholes by Saturday, political parties and state agencies continued to pass the buck. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has blamed the civic body’s ruling party Shiv Sena, the Sena in turn is pointing its finger at the state public works department (PWD) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
On Saturday morning, the Sena staged a protest at Daulat Nagar Link Road, Santacruz, blaming the BJP for the prevalence of potholes. While it is the Sena that is responsible for the maintenance of Link Road, they also protested against government bodies such as MMRDA and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which are responsible for maintenance of other roads across the city. Ironically, MSRDC is headed by Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde.
As part of the protest, the Sena invited participation from school students, who made drawings of the potholes. The Sena now intends to send these drawings to the state government.
Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeraysaid, “The responsibility of repairing potholes lies with everybody including the state government.”
Shiv Sena leader Jitendra Jawale, who led Saturday’s protest, said, “Link Road comes under the jurisdiction of BJP MLA Ashish Shelar and MP Poonam Mahajan. They should have been alert and done their job. All Shiv Sena leaders are on the field, either repairing potholes or intimating BMC officials about them.”
Lashing back at the Sena, Shelar held Yashwant Jadhav, the civic body’s standing committee chairman, responsible. “The standing committee has delayed appointing a contractor for the repair of roads in Zone 3 where my ward falls. It has done this deliberately, as the ward is dominated by BJP leaders. We (elected representatives) are carrying out our responsibility.”
Shelar added that last week he met civic chief Ajoy Mehta and got an interim order passed, allowing him to find a substitute contractor for his ward till the standing committee passed the proposal.
Meanwhile, the Congress blamed both Shiv Sena and BJP for their callous attitude toward pothole repairs. On Saturday, Sanjay Nirupam, president of Congress’s Mumbai unit, took to Bandra’s streets to repair the potholes himself. Two days ago, Congress launched the ‘aao pothole geene’ (let’s count potholes) campaign in the city. “Sena-BJP are busy making money with the nexus of contractors, and are not really bothered about the city’s roads. Our campaign will go on until BMC repairs all potholes,” said Nirupam.
Nationalist Congress Party launched another anti-pothole campaign called ‘name pothole’, urging citizens to come forward and name potholes after prominent BJP and Sena leaders in Mumbai.
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