MUMBAI: Environment and tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray son Sunday announced that major arterial roads would be made pedestrian-friendly and cycling tracks provided wherever feasible, but the city’s biggest cycle track project, in terms of length and cost, along the Tansa pipeline has hit a bump. With just three months to go, the project will miss the deadline for the first two routes.
The Rs331-crore project was launched with much fanfare in 2018 after the BMC cleared encroachments from Tansa pipeline following a Bombay HC order. The civic body hoped the 39-km cycling track would prevent encroachers from returning. According to officials, two routes were supposed to be ready by May 2021, while the third was to be ready by November. However, on all three routes, less than 40% of the work is complete.
The state government’s move to provide cycling tracks on major arterial roads wherever feasible is welcome since it will go along way in decongesting roads and reducing pollution. However, a feasibility study of such projects must be carried out, else public money could end up getting wasted. Mumbai’s biggest cycle track project on the Tansa pipeline is a case in point. The BMC must review this project and ensure it is completed.
Though the BMC had sanctioned more than Rs 488 crore in its previous budget, work has been moving at snail’s pace. In Bhandup-Mulund areas, where the BMC claims to be making progress, the condition of the tracks that have been laid so far has already worsened.
The opposition said the cycling track along the Tansa pipeline has become a pipe dream. “It is a criminal waste of public money. There is not even a 5-km stretch for cycling. The pavements and track constructed have already broken and encroachments are coming up on the patch once again. Instead of announcing new cycle tracks, the BMC must first complete this project,” said Mihir Kotecha, BJP MLA from Mulund, one of the starting points for the cycling track. “It is now clear this project is not feasible at all. The BMC must complete the missing links and scrap the remaining part of the project. Before making such announcements, project feasibility must be checked,” Samajwadi Party corporator and MLA Rais Shaikh said.
“We have reviewed the project and are initiating some changes,” additional municipal commissioner (projects) P Velrasu said.