Residents of Vashi village, mostly fisherfolk, took to the streets after constant request to Public Works Department (PWD) for service roads on Sion-Panvel highway and a footpath for direct access to Vashi old bridge fell on deaf ears.
“For the last 10 years, we have been demanding two service roads along the Sion-Panvel highway but our demands have been falling on deaf ears. After crossing Sanpada, the highway has service roads till Kharghar. These are necessary in order to bring down accident rates. The residents staying in Vashi village would not have to always take the highway,” Sudhir Bhoir, a resident of Vashi village said.
Close to 300 residents of Vashi village staged a rasta roko against PWD authorities on Sion-Panvel road on Monday morning . “This was just a rasta roko, if our demands are not met we will hold a severe protest. Last year when we had approached them, they had assured us that work will be completed by October 2018,” Mr. Bhoir added.
The protest was held under the leadership of Dashrath Bhagat, President, Navi Mumbai Punarvasan Samajik Sanstha.
“After our past protests, the PWD constructed a subway from Vashi village to Navi Mumbai Sports Association, which goes across the highway. But its maintenance has been poor. During monsoon, water fills up in the subway. We have demanded a pump house at one end to drain out the water collected,” Mr. Bhagat said. There are four major hospitals — MGM, Wockhardt, Fortis Hiranandani and NMMC hospital — near the end of the subway. For ambulances to pass through it easily, proper maintenance is required, he said.
The fishermen community in Vashi village has also demanded for a dedicated footpath to old bridge. “For fishing, we have to go to the old bridge and it is very risky to cross the highway and reach there. Hence, we have demanded for a dedicated footpath for our safety,” Mr. Bhoir said.
The PWD had constructed roads leading from Sion-Panvel highway to Vashi village and Sector 6. “After few people demanded the roads to be closed owing to silence zone, a wall was constructed which blocks the access. Due to this, we have to take a long route to reach the highway even after having a direct access road. We have asked PWD to remove the barrier at the earliest,” another resident of Vashi village said.