Workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena vandalised an office of the Public Works Department in Navi Mumbai on Monday morning in protest against deaths due to potholes in and around the city, ANI reported.
Video clips from the Public Works Department office in Turbhe showed party workers smashing and throwing furniture and equipment. They also shouted slogans against state minister Eknath Shinde, who handles the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
This comes two days after a 27-year-old man died in a pothole-related accident in Turbhe on the Sion-Panvel Highway. Five others have died and three have been injured in the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation area too in similar incidents in recent weeks, according to The Times of India.
On Friday night, MNS workers allegedly forced a contractor with the Public Works Department to do sit-ups in Mumbai’s Santacruz area, The Times of India reported.
On Sunday, minister Shinde said he will order an investigation into the contractor responsible for maintening the highway in Navi Mumbai. MNS city president, Gajanan Kale, later that day said: “If [Shinde] was serious about taking action against the contractor, why has he not approached the police yet and filed an FIR? This is exactly what happened last year as well during the monsoon period.”
However, PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil then claimed that pothole-ridden roads could not be entirely blamed for accidents, The Hindu reported. “When you talk about a death in such an accident, you forget that five lakh other people have travelled on the same road,” Patil was quoted as saying on Saturday. “You can not put the entire blame on the roads alone.” The Congress called the remark insensitive.