Questioning the slow pace of lane widening of Mumbai-Goa highway, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to review the ongoing construction work by December and complete the project at the earliest.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni further said the court will not permit the government to begin any new development project until this highway widening work was completed.
It also directed the state government to fix potholes on the highway within three weeks to avoid accidents.
“Unless you complete this project, we will not let you start any other project. Let the public reap the benefits of this project first,” HC told the state’s counsel Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Owais Pechkar, a regular commuter on Mumbai-Goa highway, who sought directions from the court to the state and Central authorities to repair potholes on the highway, which was prone to accidents.
Pechkar had filed a PIL in 2018 as well seeking similar directions, and, at the time, another HC bench had said ensuring rides free of potholes was the minimum a government should do for its citizens.
Pechkar filed the present plea earlier this week after realising authorities had done little since 2018 to repair the highway.
The PIL said widening work of the highway was delayed for years now and it was causing hardship to commuters.
The HC was informed on Monday that 2,442 deaths had occurred on the highway due to motor accidents since January 2010 when the widening work started.
The HC then asked Maharashtra PWD and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to look into immediate repair issues.
The court sought a progress report of the highway widening work from the state authorities by December this year.Internet Explorer Channel Network