Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers vandalised the Public Works Department (PWD) office in Navi Mumbai on Monday morning to protest against the number of pothole-related deaths in the city.
Over a dozen MNS activists arrived at the PWD office earlier today and vansalised the office premises, including office furniture, stationery and glass panels. Office computers, printers, keyboards and other electronics were also damaged.
Nitin Khanvilkar, Nitin Chavan, Raju Khade, Vishal Bhillare and Shyam Dhamale were among those present during agitation.
“Rid Sion-Panvel highway of potholes. If people become victims of potholes, we will respond accordingly,” an MNS worker said.
Although a complaint has been filed, none of the MNS workers have been arrested as of publishing this report.
The action comes two days after party workers had forced a PWD official to do sit-ups on a pothole in Santacruz. Apart from the physical punishment, the activists had threatened the official and given an ultimatum of 48-hours to PWD to fix Mumbai’s potholes.
“If the officials failed to do so, we will make them stand on the potholes and asked them to do sit-ups,” an MNS leader had said.
At least five people have reportedly died due to potholes in the Mumbai Metropolitan region in the last two weeks alone.
In the most recent case, a 27-year-old Sunny Vishwakarma lost his life when he fell from his bike after it hit a pothole near Sanpada on the Sion-Panvel highway.
Last week, PWD minister Chandrakant Patil had sparked controversy when he claimed that accidents could not always be blamed on pothole-ridden roads.
“When you talk about a death in such an accident, you forget that five lakh other people have travelled on the same road. You can not put the entire blame on the (condition of) roads alone,” he told reporters.
The minister later went back on his statement following a public backlash and clarified, “I did not mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments, I had made a general statement”.
In another incident, a Congress corporator was detained by cops after he tried to fill potholes during a protest in Mumbai’s Sion area. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam has claimed that there 20,000 potholes on Mumbai roads.
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