The Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) Phase-2 at Powai’s ADS Marg does not seem to seem be rid of hiccups, even in the last leg of its completion.

Explains Hari Ramesh, chief of Consultancy Engineering Services contracted for the JVLR work at the site office, “We have managed to expand the road size to multiple lanes but have to contend with huge lengths of cable and telephone lines while excavating. MTNL workers were to restore the underlying lines simultaneously after we expanded the roads. But we find that the cables are lying open and unattended, leaving work incomplete.”

SN Marathe, MTNL DGM at Gandhi Nagar, Powai denies the charge. “We are not hindering the work. Our men are working simultaneously with the road contractors. In fact the road authorities’ work is being done in phases, so it is hard for us to keep track of which site will be excavated when, but we do follow-up on the road work cable lines before and after the road expansions.”

The contractors, on their part, say that they cannot leave the work incomplete, as dust and rubble make it inconvenient for commuters. “We cannot handle the cables unless we get a continuous stretch to work with, for which we will have to wait for the road authorities to finish their work,” says Marathe.
The contractors still blame MTNL field officers and its apparently haphazard underground cable structure. “Even MTNL workers do not know the depth and the scope of their underground cable network. When our workers come across underground cables, they lift them over to a side and have to wait,” says Ajay Singh of Unity Infraprojects, also contracted by MMRDA for JVLR-2.
“At the ADS Marg on the stretch between the Bhavani Petrol Pump and the Gandhinagar corner; roadwork was being undertaken on the sides without hindering the traffic. But we now feel the need to conduct a common meeting to help complete the project on time,” he adds.
“As long as the road work do not hinder traffic, we have to continue coordinating the drainage, water lines, cables and other pipelines along with our road work to ensure that the work is completed successfully. For example, the service road is completed under the Gandhi Nagar bridge going into Kanjurmarg from the left side of the Trinity Church area in Powai, and although the traffic is flowing smoothly now, the cables are still jutting out at corners.”
Meanwhile, residents continue to be at the receiving end. Laments Vinod Kumar who owns a cybercafe at the periphery of the ADS Marg, “The bus stop is non existent while the work is going on. A pedestrian footpath should have been made while the highway is being built, to safeguard the interest and safety of the citizens. But loose gravel and dug up roads is all we’ve seen for the last several months.”

Elsie Gabriel Powai for THE TIMES OF MULUND-POWAI