Over 500 residents of Undri, Mohammadwadi and NIBM (National Institute of Bank Management) annexe area on Saturday formed a human chain to protest over the bad condition of road in the area and civic apathy.
The public demonstration was triggered after two persons died and six were injured in a bizarre road accident when a mini-bus rolled down the NIBM Road slope, connecting Mohammadwadi and Undri, after its brake failed and hit six vehicles in front of Palace Orchard Cooperative Housing Society on May 21.
The protestors, including homemakers, working professionals, senior citizens and children, gathered along the road around 9 am carrying placards with messages like “How many more lives will be taken”, “Safety is freedom”, “Lives lost we want better roads”, “Freedom from encroachment”, and “Where is our tax money going”. Residents are irate over the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) inept handling of road construction work since past five years.
The PMC road department officials present at the protest spot came in for criticism.
Tanushree Bhargava, resident of Hills and Dales Society, said, “The chowk near Palace Orchard housing society does not have a traffic island and is an accident-prone spot. The slope road is narrow and should be at least nine meters wide on both sides. The residents are feeling unsafe due to lack of interest and absence of infrastructural development in the area. Many residential societies in the area does not have municipal water facility.”
Another resident Brajesh Kumar said, “Drinking water supply for housing societies, wide roads and removal of encroachments along the stretch are major issues and pain points of residents. Citizens are suffering despite paying taxes. The present state exposes the inefficiency of PMC in providing basic civic amenities.”
Arohi Doshi, an income tax professional, said, “Pune is considered to be a Smart City then why there is no proper infrastructure for citizens? Streetlights along the road are missing and the road is in a bad shape. Mishaps happen regularly on this stretch. When will PMC act and improve the condition of road here?”
Col Deepak Kumar, a retired army officer, said, “The encroachments need to be removed and road widening has to be carried out at the earliest.”
A senior PMC road department official present at the spot on condition of anonymity said, “The process of land acquisition from the forest department for road widening is underway and encroachments along the stretch will be cleared soon.”