For 10 years, residents of Mazgaon undertook an unceasing struggle to get their main thoroughfare repaired. Today, as the civic body begins concreting the road, local politicians are stepping over each other to take credit for this with banners and bhoomi pujans.
Sardar Balwantsingh Dhodi Marg, popularly called Nesbit Road, runs from Burhani College to the sales tax office and further down to the Dockyard Road station. This 1.5km-stretch is among the busiest roads in central Mumbai with nine educational institutions, the Prince Aly Khan Hospital and even a magistrate’s court located in its vicinity.
NCP corporator Manoj Jamsutkar was probably the first to realise the publicity potential. He teamed up with Congress corporator Sayyed Ahmed from the neighbouring ward to organise a ceremony for the inauguration of the road work. MLA Madhu Chavan and Union minister Milind Deora were the chief guests.
Shiv Sena’s former corporator Yashwant Jadhav, whose wife Yamini represents an adjacent ward, put up a huge poster claiming that he did the correspondence to get the work started. The poster is bang opposite an NCP-Congress hoarding. The Jadhavs organised their bhoomi pujan on Monday. Senior party leaders and corporators from the Dadar-Parel area attended the event.
But there were hardly any residents at these events. “We don’t want to be part of this competition.
We are happy at having succeeded with our efforts,” said a resident, requesting not to be named.
Some civic staffers who were seen at the events requested not to be drawn into any controversy.
“We do not want to get involved in the politics. We just do our work,” said an E ward officer. The area has a population of about 25,000.
Activists had made an application to the civic body urging it to make the road concrete. They also followed up the matter regularly. Earlier this year, they had put up their case before municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and requested him to take a drive through the area.
“As a result of the bad state of the road, many people have suffered back problems. Even vehicles have been damage. Many had even stopped complaining,” said Abuzar Zakir, a resident of the area and founder of Concern, an NGO.