A day after a traffic policeman died on Kalyan-Badlapur highway while trying to avoid a pothole, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) took up the work of filling potholes on Wednesday night.
Sanjeev Patil, 49, traffic policemen of Ambernath traffic division, was run over by a truck after he was avoiding a pothole outside the Ambernath police station, on the Kalyan – Badlapur highway stretch on Tuesday night.
On Thursday, the potholes on the stretch were filled with stones but they were washed away in the rain. MMRDA is concretising the roads in the city and are responsible for their maintenance.
“We started filling potholes on the stretch on Wednesday night. But, rain has washed it away. We will have to wait for the rain to stop to come up with a permanent solution,” said an MMRDA official, who did not wish to be named.
Every year, Ambernath residents and activists have been complaining to the Ambernath Municipal Council (AMC) about bad roads.
“What is the point in repair works after a fatal accident? The authorities should have fixed roads before monsoon,” said Laxman Pant, 32, a resident of Ambernath
The traffic department had even written to the civic body asking to repair the roads before monsoon for free flow of traffic. However, several roads in the city have huge potholes.
On May 14, the Ambernath traffic police division wrote to the AMC chief officer, asking to fill potholes on the roads before monsoon.
In the letter, the traffic police listed the pothole-filled roads such as railway station roads in east and west, T-Point circle to Forest naka, near Mahanagar gas petrol pump, new Bhendipada road, Saibaba mandir road on Kalyan-Badlapur road, Anand Nagar petrol pump to Rotary Club road.
“The roads are so bad that vehicles move very slowly and this leads to congestion. We write to the municipal body every year before monsoon. However, the situation is the same,” said Sanjay Jadhav, senior traffic police inspector, Ambernath traffic police division.
Ambernath Citizens’ Forum (ACF) said several residents have posted photos of bad roads on social networking sites.
The forum’s founder member Satyajit Burman said that his RTI query found that most road accidents in Ambernath is due to potholes.
“This year, there are five deaths reported in road accidents. In all cases, the accidents were because of bad roads. Since 2009, there have been 193 deaths in the city due to road accidents and all of them are due to bad roads,”
The Kalyan-Badlapur highway road which is under concretisation project by the MMRDA has several portions which are yet to be concretised.
These stretches have developed potholes. The portions which are concretised are also half done, with rough edges, paver blocks washed away and uneven patches.
“After the traffic policeman died on Tuesday, I went to lodge an FIR against contractors and authorities but police refused. They said they have arrested the truck driver. I told them as per the court’s order, contractors or officer can be booked. I have decided to take the matter to court,” said Burman.
AMC claimed that every year it takes up repairing of the roads before monsoon. This year, it has spent ₹60 lakh for the work.
“The roads are being concretised in Ambernath and those which are not yet concretised are repaired before monsoon. We repair potholes throughout the rainy season. We have given priority to concretisation of roads but somehow the project gets stuck due to encroachments,” said Devidas Pawar, chief officer of AMC.