`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

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

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