Pace up widening work of Mumbai-Goa freeway to satisfy Dec 2022 deadline: HC to Maharashtra govt

The Bombay Excessive Court docket Friday directed the state authorities to hurry up the widening work of the Mumbai-Goa Nationwide Freeway, and take security measures together with constructing of service roads to forestall accidents and deaths and save lives of villagers within the space.

The courtroom additionally ordered that the work on filling up potholes have to be accomplished in an expeditious method in order that motorists and others utilizing the freeway are least inconvenienced. The courtroom requested the authorities to hurry up the widening work to make sure that the identical is accomplished by December 2022.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was listening to a public curiosity litigation (PIL) filed by Owais Anwar Pechkar, a resident of Chiplun metropolis in Konkan and a daily commuter on Mumbai-Goa freeway, looking for instructions that steps be taken to repair and canopy potholes on NH-66, which is vulnerable to accidents.

Pechkar has claimed that the Centre, the NHAI and the state authorities haven’t taken enough steps to resolve the varied points confronted by the commuters travelling on the street, which is being widened right into a four-lane street. The widening work, delayed for years, causes difficulties for commuters, he added.

Earlier this month, the bench had orally noticed that “the state of affairs on the freeway shouldn’t be good.” “We wish the Public Works Division (PWD) and the Nationwide Freeway Authority of India (NHAI) to look into the fast points, together with the potholes. Monsoon is right here. Accidents may occur and security measures have to be taken,” the courtroom stated. The excessive courtroom had additionally sought a progress report on the freeway widening work from the authorities.

Pechkar submitted that within the final 10 years, almost 2,442 individuals died on account of accidents on the Mumbai-Goa Freeway, and filling up of potholes was required to be carried out on an pressing foundation to keep away from fatalities in the course of the upcoming Ganesh Utsav season, which is extensively celebrated within the Konkan area.

The Public Works Division, via Shrikant Bangar, Govt Engineer, Nationwide Freeway Division, Raigad district, filed an affidavit in reply to the plea which said that of the 355.28-km street, four-laning work of 206.98 kms has been accomplished and the remaining 148.30 kms is beneath progress, including that this size is maintained “pothole-free”. “Formation of potholes on roads in monsoon is routinely noticed on this space on account of heavy rainfall and attending potholes is a steady course of and being executed often,” the affidavit said.

Advocate Common Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted the progress report of labor on the freeway work and the filling of potholes. Kumbhakoni stated potholes on the freeway, which have surfaced as a result of the monsoon, are being crammed up within the “right-earnest” to keep away from any accident.

The courtroom, nonetheless, identified that service roads weren’t offered for villagers and security measures and barricading have been additionally required to keep away from accidents and lack of lives. “It’s a must to construct service roads as it’ll be a excessive velocity freeway. There are unattended and unmarked velocity breakers. There are not any barricades and the identical is inflicting issues. There must be service roads at the least close to villages like you’ve got on Pune-Satara street and different highways,” Justice Kulkarni stated.

After perusing the affidavit in reply, the bench famous in its order, “We’re of the thought of opinion that progress achieved for finishing the venture throughout the deadline of December 2022 is cheap, though a number of of the contractors have to be persuaded to hurry up the tempo of the development work in order that the deadline could be met.”

It added, “Insofar as filling up potholes is worried, we’re of the view that the identical should be accomplished as early as doable in order that motorists and others utilizing the freeway are least inconvenienced.”

Posting the PIL for additional listening to on August 27, the bench sought additional standing report on the progress achieved in filling up the potholes, following which, the courtroom stated it should cross new instructions.

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