Monsoons can be fatal for the Indian roads---more so in MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) administered by the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority), an urban conglomeration of eight municipal corporations, nine municipal councils and 1000 villages according to their website, covering a large geography of 4, 355 sq. km, adjoining the financial hub of Mumbai.The boom in the central and western suburbs in last one decade has been phenomenal as the people working in Mumbai or New Mumbai seek homes and ancillary facilities in less-pricey peripheral towns covered under the umbrella body of MMRDA. However, the market hype does not match the ground zero in the MMR, a sad fact that can be a negative in the large-term development of the territory being planned as independent and integrated urban spaces for smart investors. The worst is witnessed during four months of the rains along the coastal belt of Mumbai.
The rains batter and leave the infra in shambles in and around Mumbai. And people are complaining. “It is highly regrettable. The growth of the area is not as per the promises of the urban bodies and MMRDA and the mismatch between promised facilities and daily experiences of the consumers can be a turn off in the long run for both the realtors and buyers in this huge area. Infra is real bad across the suburbs, more so in monsoons. It takes more than an hour to reach Kalyan from Thane during the rains, a journey of hardly 45 minutes otherwise.Road craters, long jams and accidents are common on highways and internal city roads here in MMR. The overall costs of commuting by roads is enormous for the middle-class residents of the region, once touted as the best planned area of the world,” says Bharat Malik, one of the prominent realtors of the MMR. Another important realtor Vinod Mishra believes that lot of mess is due to lack of coordination among the urban bodies and an overseeing agency tasked with the overall monitoring of the costly infra projects, “The main problem is that there is no centralized authority to oversee the development of such a vast territory.
Then there is no strict monitoring of the work being done at the urban- body levels, as so many agencies are involved. The monsoon season washes away roads annually but the defect liability clause is hardly used against the contractors by the competent authorities. So the problems continue for the citizens in the MMR. It is a recurring and costly nightmare for all of us living here!” Others agree. Rohit Jadhav, a young entrepreneur, from Kalyan, observes, “Operating businesses along the state or national highways is difficult due to the poor infra.I have got a petrol pump near the kalian- Murbad highway. It is full of huge craters and potholes. It gets flooded during heavy rains. Previous night, Sunday, August 20, there were fatalities also due to flash flooding and poor visibility and roads. Most involve bikers or two wheelers and are avoidable young deaths. Commuting is hardly smooth over the broken road network in the season and the long delays and jams are frustrating.”
Despite efforts, the local PWD authorities could not be reached for their comments.
Hope Central ministries of urban development and surface transport are listening!