Pune: There have been several controversies in the past involving naming of public roads in the city. Usually, local corporators name roads within their wards after their parents or party leaders.
However, they do not go overboard and name two roads within the same locality after the same person. This has happened within the jurisdiction of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Two main roads separated by a distance of around two kilometres are named after Maharashtra Bhushan Dr Narayan Vishnu aka Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari, a spiritual leader and social worker who worked in the areas of health, education and de-addiction in Konkan area. Maharashtra Bhushan was posthumously bestowed upon him in 2008.
The award consists of Rs 10 lakh (before 2012 Rs 5 lakh) and a citation. It is given to a prominent personality from the fields of healthcare, industry, arts, sports, journalism, public administration, science and social service. Among its recipients are PL Deshpande, Lata Mangeshkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Vijay Bhatkar, Raghunath Mashelkar, Bhimsen Joshi and others.
The road from Dhankawadi Post Office to Trimurti Chowk behind Bharati Vidyapeeth as well as the road from the Shinde High School to Taljai Temple bear the name of Maharashtra Bhushan Dr Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari. Followers of Nanasaheb are sometimes seen cleaning the road in Dhankawadi as part of social service.
The road in Dhankawadi was developed after the stretch of road from Trimurti Chowk to Satara Road passing through Bharati Vidyapeeth was closed for traffic. This road runs parallel to Satara Road up to Balajinagar. The road in Sahakarnagar is used by morning walkers and fitness freaks to reach Taljai forest, which is very popular among walkers and runners and was developed as a prominent walking plaza recently.
The corporators, Subhash Jagtap and Vishal Tambe, who had proposed to name these roads, are from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Their wards are adjacent. While Tambe had proposed it in 2010-11, Jagtap did in 2013-14.
When contacted, NCP corporator from Dhankawadi Vishal Tambe said, “During the last year of my tenure as a corporator in 2010-11, I had submitted the proposal to name a road located in my ward after Maharashtra Bhushan Dr Narayan Vishnu a.k.a. Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari. I have no idea of any other road being given the same name. Normally, this cannot happen. The civic administration suggests some changes, if more than one roads have the same name.”
Commenting on the issue, NCP corporator Subhash Jagtap said, “I don’t know there was another road in Dhankawadi bearing the name of Maharashtra Bhushan Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari. This has happened as the civic administration doesn’t have a proper system to check details of roads in the city.”
A senior civic official, who was involved in the process of naming public roads, said, “Corporators sometimes suggest same names for different roads. In such cases, we make slight changes in the same name like full names are mentioned in place of initials of leaders or dignitaries or if they hold different titles, two different titles are mentioned at two different places. However, normally it doesn’t happen. We take precautions to avoid repetition of road names.”