We don’t dig it, PMC!

While usually, the arrival of the rains signals a time commuters have to dread, it appears that the bumpy ride has been flagged off a bit early this year, thanks to road work going on at a large scale in most parts of the city to lay cables for the installation of a proper Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera network.

Most affected areas at the moment include oft-crowded zones like Kasba Peth, Bhavani Peth, Shankarsheth Road, Shaniwar Peth and more. Though present digging work seems to be concentrated in the old city, residents from suburban zones like Kothrud, Kalyaninagar, Baner, Aundh and Warje also had their share of hardships when road work was carried out in these areas in the beginning of 2015. Moreover, Hadapsar, Wanowrie and Kondhwa are set to see road work begin by the end of March, signalling their addition to the troubled pack.

It isn’t just vehicle users feeling the heat though — several pedestrians are also struggling with the dug-up roads. This is no unusual sight, unfortunately. Last year as well, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had undertaken similar road digging work; this year, besides cable laying, water pipeline and cement concretisation work is also taking place in some areas.

Shailendra Kathvate, coordinator of road digging for PMC, said, “Most of this digging work is to lay CCTV cables. At present, nearly 35-38 kilometres of roads have been dug up, mostly in zones II and IV. Our target is to finish digging by April 30, to have more time in hand to repair the roads before the rains.” Officials of the civic water department added, “Currently, nearly three kilometres of road have been dug up, mainly to replace old and damaged water pipelines with new ones.”

Peth areas residents, however, are obviously an unhappy lot. Ganesh Chondhe, who lives in Shaniwar Peth, said, “We are fed by PMC’s constant road digging work. Every year, the same roads are dug up and repaired.”

Another common complaint is about the dangers of missing barricades around dug-up spots. In fact, some weeks ago, Mirror had reported how an elderly woman had sustained a fracture after her leg got tangled in a drainage chamber next to ongoing road work in Guruwar Peth; a police complaint had also been lodged against the civic body.

Vivek Kharwadkar, head of the PMC road department, said, “We have made barricading around road work compulsory. If citizens do not find them, they can complain to the administration. We will take stringent action against concerned officials.”

Though a deadline of April 30 has been set to finish all road digging work, citizens say the quality of the roads is always poor in the monsoons anyway. Saurabh Awati, a mechanical engineer working in a private firm in Kothrud, said, “Every rainy season, we face the issue of potholes everywhere. Last year, it was very bad — this year, I fear it will only be worse.”

When Kharwadkar was asked about the pothole problem, he retorted, “We are carrying out cement concretisation work in some places; in others, reinstatement work has begin. I assure you that the city will be pothole-free before the monsoon.”

Source: Punemirror, 21′ March

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