With a huge footfall at Sinhagad Fort being reported by the forest department during the pre-monsoon period, the road leading to the fort has become a sore spot for revellers driving up to the tourist destination.
Of the seven-kilometre stretch from the base up to the fort, only 4 kilometre of road construction work has been done while the rest of the three kilometre-stretch lies neglected. The tussle between the forest department and the Public Works Department (PWD) pertaining to permissions and repair works has left the projects in limbo.
While the forest department officials have said that they had given the permission for road repairs and even got funds sanctioned for the repairs, the PWD department has not initiated the work.
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“The permissions from the forest department have been given but despite repeated reminders, the work is lying incomplete. This monsoon too, the fort-bound road will continue to be in a bad shape,’’ said a senior forest official. The forest department said they had got Rs 1.25 crore from the District Planning Development Council (DPDC) and the road work is completed only from Donje Phata to Walvewadi. The PWD officials have blamed the forest department for the late permission clearance. According to the PWD officials, the remaining stretch needed forest department’s permission and it was just recently, they got one. “They delayed the permission and so we could not carry out the work. However, we are filling up potholes on this stretch using cement,’’ he said. Interestingly, the entire work was to be completed last year.
Ahead of the rains, another reason for worry is the area being prone to landslides and the necessary safety nets not in place. Both the departments maintain that the nets too could not be completed this year. The proposal was to fix the safety nets at seven to eight spots that are vulnerable to landslides and have witnessed instances of loosening of boulders during heavy showers.
Last monsoon, the PWD had chosen to close the ghat for vehicular traffic for sometime because of landslides and this year too, precautionary measures will be taken, said the PWD official. Frequent visitors to Sinhagad are appalled at how the department is yet to take action. “There is a toll of Rs 50 collected from the tourists but such basic facilities are not catered to,’’ said Rohan Kshirsagar, a student.