Nagpur: The celebration is over. Its time to back to work. Perhaps this should be the loud and clear message from the voters to all newly elected corporators and BJP which emerged as clear winner in just concluded Nagpur Municipal Corporation elections.
Nagpurians have given an overwhelming mandate to BJP in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and now it has to fulfill the plethora of promises it made to the citizens. And one of the biggest challenge the party has to overcome to dig deeper into pathetic condition of city roads, especially the tar roads and deal with the corrupt contractors with iron hands.
There are many city stretches which have been hastily tarred prior to polls. The one done at Chinch Bhavan RoB is the classic example of how the contractors try to eyewash the people and keep the officials in dark. The tarring is done in patches. Interestingly one side of road is tarred while other side is left with big potholes inviting major mishappenings. Since Chinch Bhavan bridge is bottle neck of NH7 there remains frequent plying of trucks and heavy vehicles. To get a glimpse of how contractors commit corruption in road construction, the leaders should inspect the Chinch Bhavan RoB.
There a road is constructed on papers and actually left in shambles. Similar is the situation across various city roads where the contractors apply similar tactics.
Nagpurians are hoping Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis would ensure development of the city on the basis of their pronouncements. The credibility of the two leaders will be tested in the coming months.
However, BJP leaders remain silent on the issue of tar roads. Whenever, they are asked about poor condition of tar roads, they talk about cement roads. Not every road in the city is going to be concretized. There is no getting away from improving the quality of tar roads.
This does not need huge funds, only strict quality control. The contractor and NMC engineers in-charge of roads are not punished if quality of work is poor. This is root cause of the problem. If BJP is serious about raising the standard to where it has promised, then whip has to be cracked on guilty parties. Sadly, there is no such promise in party’s manifesto.
Water supply is another area of concern. BJP in its manifesto promises to provide 24×7 supply. However, it does not give a timeframe for completing the project. Currently, many localities are being supplied water by tankers. Others are getting it on alternate days. This is simply unacceptable for a city that claims to be the model for water supply.
Public transport is another area. The party which takes pride in executing Metro Rail project has miserably failed in providing a decent city bus service. Starbus operator Vansh Nimay has been ousted but the new ones are yet to make any perceptible difference. The 50 green buses are nowhere to be seen. If Gadkari and Fadnavis seriously wanted people to switch over to public transport, NMC will have to provide a proper city bus service. Unfortunately, there is no promise about this in party’s manifesto.
Garbage collection is something that leaves a lot to be desired. This is the first item on BJP’s manifesto. While the party promises many new steps to keep the city clean, all it has to do is to be strict with the private operator Kanak Resources.
The rejuvenation of Nag and Pili rivers and city lakes and laying a new sewage system is pending due to lack of funds. Gadkari had got the rejuvenation of Nag river approved from Centre months ago but NMC is yet to receive a single rupee. The minister is silent as to when the funds will be finally disbursed.