`2.48-cr foot overbridge lies abandoned
MIDC opened the bridge in June for those who work in industrial area; pedestrians continue to cross busy road
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) built a foot overbridge (FOB) at the cost of Rs2.48 crore on Thane-Belapur Road near Airoli station.
This was for the convenience of the employees who work in companies located its areas.
The bridge was formally inaugurated on June 11. However, the swanky bridge is now hardly serving any purpose as people are still crossing the busy road to reach their offices from the station and vice versa.
As far as the statics are concerned around 150 IT parks and other offices have sprung up in the MIDC areas of Navi Mumbai in the past decade. Over 10,000 people come to work in these companies from across Mumbai, Thane and the peripheral area.
The traffic officials said that a majority of these people alight from trains at the stations on the trans-harbour line and then cross the Thane-Belapur road to reach the MIDC areas.
“Nearly 3,000 employees of these companies get down at Airoli station every day. Earlier, there was no foot overbridge outside the station and hence they had to cross road to reach their offices. But even after the FOB was constructed they are doing the same and putting their lives at risk,” said one traffic official from Rabale unit.
Supriya Nishal, 31, an IT professional from Vashi and who works in company in the MIDC area, said, “I know many people who travel from Vashi, Nerul and Panvel and get down at Airoli station every morning. I have observed that after alighting from train, these people want to reach office as soon as possible.” People cross the busy road at Airoli. Opened in June, the foot overbridge is deserted throughout the day.
“To cross the road by using the FOB it takes eight to ten minutes more than illegally crossing it. People always want short cuts. So they don’t mind to risk their lives to illegally cross the road and avoid using the FOB,” she said.
According to sources from the traffic department, 12 people died in 27 major accidents on Thane-Belapur road in the initial five months of this year. A total of 21 people suffered injuries on the road during this period.
As many as 32 people died in 30 fatal accidents on this road last year as opposed to 22 deaths
in 14 fatal accidents in 2014.
Chandrakant Jadhav, police inspector of Rabale traffic unit said, “All the employees of these companies are well educated, but they do not have any sense of road safety. By illegally crossing the road they also slow down traffic on the busy road.”
“We deploy our officials on that spot throughout the day. We have realised that the problem cannot be solved only by keeping officials on the road. We have written to the NMMC, requesting to block the road there and put steel barricades on the dividers. This is the only solution for this problem,” he said.
Around 300 projectaffected people (PAP), who lost their jobs after Dastan, Chirle and Karanjade toll nakas shut, gheraoed officials of National Highway Authority on Friday.
The workers, led by union leader Mahendra Gharat, demanded that they be taken back.
The workers claimed that while their land had been taken for various projects, the authorities were sidelining them. They warned that if they were not re-employed they would destroy the highway leading to JNPT.
The workers who had been working on the toll nakas for the past 11 years have been rendered jobless with the shutting down of the toll plazas. They said that they have got little response from the authorities to their demand of being absorbed in other projects.
The workers gheraoed NHAI manager Prashant Fegde.
Gharat said, “When their land was taken for JNPT project, the project-affected people were assured of jobs till their retirement age. Now they have been left in a lurch.”
He added, “The toll nakas on JNPT route may have been shut, however, Rs 260 is still collected from each container near the JNPT port entry which is earning good revenue for the authorities.”
Gharat said that NHAI authorities should take the workers back in employment.
“The workers are upset and have warned for damaging the entire highway leading to the port if their demands are not met,” he said.
Fegde said, “We will hold a meeting of JNPT, CIDCO and NHAI officials to look into the demand and resolve the issue at the earliest.”