Thousands of Thane residents have vowed to boycott every election – from the municipal corporation to the Lok Sabha – until roads are repaired in their localities. The protest came in the wake of a lengthy campaign run by this newspaper highlighting the condition of roads in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which has witnessed seven deaths due to potholes this year.
Hundreds and thousands of people pledged to converge at Waghbil Naka on Ghodbunder Road today, and then drive to Airoli Bridge, 17 km away, to highlight the problems which they face every day.
The residents, who have formed a group called Road Commuters’ Forum, say they have more than 250 members and more are joining in, including several from the Western suburbs. Already, they have begun campaigning for their cause on social media, using hashtags such as #FixRoadsElseNoVotes, #Freedom-FromPotholes and #KhaddaChallenge. Another 7,600 Thanekars have signed an online petition submitted by the Thane Citizens’ Foundation demanding potholes-free roads and better coordination among the authorities to ease bottlenecks.
The residents have identified five major problems and want the government to solve these as soon as possible. These include – substandard material used in road construction; traffic mismanagement; poor regulation of traffic at toll plazas; crumbling public transport; entry of heavy vehicles within the city limits during rush hours.