Mumbai's Traffic Jams: Expect More. And Happy New Year.

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Mumbai's Traffic Jams: Expect More. And Happy New Year.

Representational photo (Thinkstock)

Mumbai:  The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has assured Mumbaikars that their traffic woes are likely to be over once the three-year master plan to improve roads is complete. However, the current spate of traffic snarls is likely to continue next year as well.

Yuva Sena President Aditya Thackeray, who has been personally visiting the work sites, told reporters, "Mumbai wants good roads and there is work going on all around Mumbai. We are working not only on the roads but also on ducting. There are 30-40 utilities we are working on providing ducting facilities, be it the storm water drainage, water and sewer lines, MTNL, Mahanagar Gas etc. We are ducting all the lines so that we don't have to dig up again." Mr Thackeray's party, the Shiv Sena, runs the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC.

Aditya_Thackeray_inspecting_roads_Mumbai_650.jpg
(Aditya Thackeray visiting one of the work sites)

The BMC has drawn up a Rs 7,500 crore master plan to improve roads across the city under which around 300 places are being dug or repaired. This comes after discussions with the Bombay High Court which sat for special hearings to improve the traffic situation in the country. The plan will be implemented between October and May in 2015 and the next two years. Unfortunately, since Mumbai has only a short window when these works can take place, all road improvement works have to be scheduled between October and May.

Meanwhile, the BMC says the traffic police is responsible for the traffic situation in the city. With roads being repaired at around 300 locations, traffic jams are becoming unbearable. BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte told NDTV, "We are not working unilaterally. This is a result of the master plan which is a result of the deliberations that took place in the Bombay High Court. The traffic police was a part of those discussions and all works have started with their green signal."

But the traffic police say the BMC is to blame. Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) BK Upadhyay told NDTV, "We gave the BMC an NOC to start works but they delayed it. So the entire planning has gone haywire as the sequence is not being maintained and simultaneously works are being taken up in different places."

Over the years the BMC has faced flak for the poor conditions of roads, but says it is helpless. Even after roads are repaired utilities dig them up and leave them in pathetic condition. Now the BMC leadership has said that once the master plan is complete and utilities are mapped, random digging will stop. Only then will Mumbai have world class roads. What makes the situation worse is that multiple agencies are responsible for roads in the city leading to complete chaos.

The political leadership of the BMC is also now ensuring that roads are improved. With the top Sena leadership ensuring accountability for road infrastructure, the BMC says once the Rs 7,500 crore project is complete, Mumbaikars are assured that at least now contractors won't get away with shoddy work.

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