Article in Times of India dated - 23 . 04 . 2009
If you find the Sion-Dharavi-Bandra stretch or the road near St. Joseph's School at wadala smooth now, Thank 65-year-old retired taxi driver Manohar Shinde.
For 20 years, he scourged the roads as a taxi driver and today he is fighting to keep the city's roads intact. All of 65 years, Mahonar Shinde in an effort to maintain the roads in a good condition, has filed several complaints to various officials including the chief minister, traffic department and other development agencies. Constantly following up his complaints regarding shoddy or incomplete roadwork, Shinde single-handedly leaves no stone unturned in his struggle for a better infrastructure. "We deserve all the facilities and amenitites for which we are paying taxes to the government. Every time, I see the dismal condition of the roads or a delayed road construction, I immediately call up the helpline 1916, provided by the Municiple Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) that takes up complaints regarding any civic matter. I pursue the matter till it is addressed," says Shinde, who has received letters of appreciation from various departments for his dedicated endeavour.
Some of Sinde's efforts can be seen when you travel along the Sion-Dharavi-Bandra stretch or the road near St. Joseph's School, Wadala. These once upon a time pothole-ridden roads are now a smooth drive for motorists. Presently, shinde is pursuing the traffic department to install radium signages near accident-prone bridges to avoid the numerous fatalities that occur near their landings. He has also asked the municipal authorities to reconsider the reconstruction of roads using tar -- a major cause for accidents during the rains.
After retiring as a taxi driver, Shinde became a driving instructor. Today he trains women motorists to hit the roads with confidence. He unabashedly states that lack of time is no excuse for passing off one's moral responsibility. Shinde says, "While instructing my students, I take the time to make a note of any issue and reports it either through a text message or a call. We have to make time for our city. As a citizen, you ought to take some responsibility instead of constantly playing the blame game. We are not chosen to do these things, we simply have to realise our duties." A sole soldier's battle for the roads is Shinde's story but hopes that sooner than later people will realise the importance of taking their dutiess seriously.