Maharashtra PWD minister Chandrakant Patil has claimed that pothole-ridden roads can not be entirely blamed for accidents.
The statement came even as five people lost their lives due to damaged roads in the Mumbai region in the last two weeks.
Speaking to reporters in Sangli yesterday, Mr Patil said, "When you talk about a death in such an accident, you forget that five lakh other people have travelled on the same road. You can not put the entire blame on the (condition of) roads alone."
The senior minister hastened to add that he did not have all the information about the recent accidents, and action will be taken against officials based on the facts of each case. Family members of the deceased will get due compensation, he said.
Asked about people slamming civic bodies and the state government over the bad roads on social media, Patil said,
"People have a habit of changing their opinions constantly. They will like something for a while and soon pass a negative remark (on the same issue)."
Opposition Congress termed the minister's comment as insensitive.
Mr Patil was questioning people's view of roads, but he will understand what people can do after elections, said state Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant.
"Government is not expected to run away by raising doubts about accident deaths. We condemn the minister for his insensitive comment," Mr Sawant tweeted today.
Accidents on pothole-ridden roads claimed four lives in Kalyan area in the last two weeks. Another death was reported in Navi Mumbai. In all these cases, victims lost balance and fell when their two-wheelers hit a pothole.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam claimed today that there were 20,000 potholes on Mumbai roads, and not 300 as stated by the civic body BMC before the Bombay High Court.
He was going to "file an FIR" against chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray (whose party rules the BMC), the municipal commissioner and the mayor for the bad roads, he said.