In The first concerted action in over 10 years, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Police on Wednesday removed encroachments along the Pune-Mumbai Highway at Kasarwadi. Civic activists and residents welcomed the move, while expressing doubts whether it was a one-off action or will it be a continuous activity.
A team of police in two vehicles reached Kasarwadi around 12.30 pm and removed cars that were parked along the highway and on some parts of the highway. Residents and activists in Kasarwadi have been for years complaining that the stretch of the highway from Nashik Phata Chowk towards Phugewadi had been captured by mechanics and those who sell second-hand cars. Residents had been complaining that vehicles were parked on the side margins of the roads meant for pedestrians as there is no footpath constructed on this stretch. “Not only are vehicles parked along the highway but they also occupy some part of the highway. This forces pedestrians to walk on the road, risking their lives,” said advocate Manohar Garande, a local resident.
Lahoo Landge, another resident, said, “The traffic police are present at the Nashik Phata Chowk every day, but except for catching traffic violators they take no action against encroachers, who brazenly occupy the highway stretch. Is it not the duty of the traffic police to keep a watch on those encroaching the highway? I hope this will be a continuous drive and not a one-off action.”
Officials of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation had in past argued that it was the duty of traffic police to remove the encroachments. Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar had told The Indian Express that they had conveyed to the traffic police to take action against encroachers and free the highway stretch to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudhir Hiremath said, “Today’s action was a result of the meeting the traffic police had with PCMC officials. It was decided to remove encroachers all along the highway stretch and also in other suburbs. It will be our joint action.”
Hiremath added, “We will continuously take action if the encroachers return. Our police team will be keeping a constant watch on them.” The DCP said they are also launching a drive to ensure smooth movement on roads for pedestrians. “This drive will be launched in congested suburbs like Pimpri, Chinchwad, Dapodi, Bhosari, Chikhli and other areas.”
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