The potholes in Naigaon East were so bad that residents couldn’t even walk properly, let alone drive their vehicles. For a month, they complained and followed up with the civic authorities, to no avail. Fed up, the locals decided to just do the job themselves. Remarkably, it took them all of 24 hours and Rs 40,000 to do what the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation could not do in four weeks.
Interestingly, the roads at Pareira Nagar and Citizen Colony had been repaired less than a month ago, after extensive damage caused by thundershowers and flooding between July 9 and 12. But a few more bouts of rain were all it took for the potholes to reappear. The stretch in front of Don Bosco school was the worst, said resident Amar Gupte, adding, “Traffic had slowed down terribly. We wrote several complaints to the VVMC, but no action was taken.”
Not afraid of DIY
Around five residents pooled together R40,000 to hire workers and buy the materials, but their contribution didn’t end there. Starting from Monday evening, they stayed right by the labourers and worked alongside them through the night, right until the job had been completed 24 hours later. Inspired by the initiative taken by the small group, other residents too stepped out of their homes and helped to repair the road. Michel Moses, businessmen and resident of Pareira Nagar, said, “We got tired of waiting and decided to raise the money and fill the potholes ourselves.”
All in a day’s work
Many residents cooked meals for the workers and brought it to them, so that they would not need to take long breaks to go out in search of food. By Tuesday evening, they had successfully repaired the 1.5-km road in Pareira Nagar and Citizens Colony, as well as another 300-metre stretch from Pareira Nagar to Ajanta building. “The condition of these two roads was bad. The Corporation was taking too long, and we could no longer wait for them to resolve the problem. We were continually receiving complaints from locals. So some of us took initiative, brought a cement mixer and hired labourers for the job,” said Pravin Gavde, a local who is also the Shiv Sena vibhag pramukh.
Kanhaiya Bhoir, corporator from ward number 105, told mid-day, “The road had been repaired after the recent flooding, but got damaged again due to heavy rain. I had personally complained to the VVMC about it, but before they could rebuild it, the residents did the work.” RK Patil, road engineer from the VVMC, told this paper, “A major part of the road was damaged in the recent flooding. We have received many complaints since then. The repairing and filling potholes of the road is under process everywhere in the city. Our team will get these areas too soon.”
Time taken for the road repairs
Amount the residents raised for the road repairs
Total road length repaired by the Naigaon residents
No. of people who raised the money for the roadwork