TWO MAHARASHTRA Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporators said they spent nearly five to six hours of their total 48 hours in judicial custody in Arthur Road prison discussing the poor condition of the city’s roads with Ashok Pawar, former chief engineer (roads) and Uday Murudkar, former chief engineer of the vigilance department. Pawar and Murudkar are both lodged in the jail for their alleged role in the roads scam.
The corporators, Sandeep Deshpande and Santosh Dhuri, reportedly shared the same barrack in which the two former chief engineers are lodged. “We had a long chat of around 5-6 hours with both the engineers on Sunday. We spoke about road construction, the quality of work and other issues related to the poor quality of road works. We got to know certain issues which will be raised soon,” claimed Deshpande, after being released on bail Monday evening.
The group leader of the MNS in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also appeared impressed with the cleanliness levels inside the crowded prison. Deshpande said the BJP must take some lessons from the cleanliness maintained inside the jail. “The cleanliness inside the jail is awesome. PM Modi should take a cue from it,” Deshpande said.
Dhuri said they were treated to the same ‘normal’ practices including food and sleep arrangements as the other inmates of the prison.
“They recognized us inside the jail and were aware about why we came inside. The inmates did not do any ragging as they knew that we have come for a good cause and had refused the bail. It was a good experience overall,” said Dhuri adding that around 250-300 inmates were lodged in the barrack, which had a capacity of a hundred only.
Other inmates made space for the duo to sleep and treated them with respect, Dhuri added.
The two corporators were lodged in Arthur Road prison around 10.30 pm on Saturday and were released on Monday around 6 pm.
Earlier in the day, an MNS delegation met the additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh on the potholes issue. After assurances from the civic administration that the potholes will be filled by October 25, the MNS decided to take the bail for its two corporators.
“The citizens are very frustrated with the potholes all over the city. We also raised the issue of the civic administration’s failure to fill the potholes immediately. The BMC officials have promised to make the city pothole-free by October 25. So, we are hopeful that it will keep its word. If it doesn’t, we will take forward the agitation in our style,” said Shalini Thackeray, MNS general secretary and head of the delegation of party leaders.
She added that the MNS has also demanded a joint quality check of pothole-filling works by MNS and the BMC’s audit department. “If it is found that the road engineers have used substandard material, stern action should be taken against them,” Thackeray said.