Baner residents bristle at what build-up made them go through
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Yet Bilimoria, now 71, will boycott the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) in her own city. This will be a mark of protest against Suresh Kalmadi, local corporators, the Pune Municipal Corporation and other utilities such as Maharashtra State Electricity Department Corporation Ltd (MSEDCL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. She holds them responsible for turning her life into a civic nightmare in the run-up to the CYG.
Bilimoria, living at Baner for 14 years, saw residents suffering ever since the civic administration undertook the work to redo the road. Cables frequently snapped, leading to telephone disruptions and power cuts running into days. Even water lines were snapped.
"I am interested in all sports. You name it, I watch it," Bilimoria said. "But we are certainly not going to watch the CYG events. Given what we have been put through, we are no way going to buy the tickets and add to their revenue." Other Baner residents including Rejy John-George, former state and national hockey player, will join the boycott.
They faced a 65-hour power cut from September 18 morning to September 20 night. Earlier that week, they had gone through 25 hours of loadshedding. "Just when we were recovering, it failed again on Monday (September 22) afternoon for another 30 hours," said Amar Singh, a 70-year-old resident.
The next evening, furious that not a single civic official responded to their complaints, residents parked their cars across Baner Road to block traffic. Since then power supply has been at best erratic. Now, 23 Baner residents have filed an application with the MSEDCL, demanding Rs 2,000 each as compensation.
Residents are not against the CYG; but against the civic authorities for leaving construction work till the last month before the Games. "The work has been going on for three years, but only after the rain this time did the pace pick up. They went at such a hectic pace that they were unable to look after the cables," said Sushil Bijlani of Eves Garden.
For months, the arterial route to Baner was dug up. One would have expected them to work lane by lane, but because of lack of time the entire road was blocked. Residents had to take a 9-km detour for two months via Baner-Sus Road, Pashan-Sus Road and Pashan Road, none of which even had a proper surface, Bijlani said.
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