The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is one of six agencies developing and maintaining roads in the national capital. Of the 33,198 km of road stretch in total, the three civic bodies manage approximately 23,000 km and cater to the civic needs of almost 95 per cent of the population.
The civic bodies control roads that are less than 60 feet in width. Thus, barring the arterial roads, most streets and internal roads are under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation controls over nearly 15,000 km of streets and bylanes. As per the North corporation’s engineering chief, KP Singh, acting on a complaint about dilapidated roads can take nearly a month and, sometimes, more. As soon as a complaint is received, the junior engineer of the zone or ward concerned does a spot assessment and sends an inspection report to the executive engineer of the zone.
The executive engineer has the authority to sanction repair work for up to Rs 5 lakh, depending on the junior engineer’s feedback. For roads of longer length and bigger drains and cost of up to Rs 25 lakh, bids are invited and the superintendent engineer holds the sanctioning power for such projects.
“A tender is announced and the work order takes about a month (21 working days) to be issued because all bids have to be scrutinised,” says Singh. Proposals above this cost are sent to the civic body’s standing committee for approval and could take four to five months till the final work order is released.
MCD roads are asphalt concrete or cold bitumen roads which, according to engineering staff, are one-fifth the cost of the Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) roads that were built earlier. The cost of laying new roads varies, depending on the thickness and traffic on the road. Corporation engineers peg the estimate at Rs 20 lakh per km.
The three municipal corporations of the city have claimed that of the 167 points identified by the traffic police as vulnerable to waterlogging, only two are under their jurisdiction.
The civic bodies have repeatedly raised concerns over government agencies cutting roads without informing them, and leaving the repairs to them. Officials say that several times, debris from road cutting by public or private agencies leads to waterlogging and potholes.
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The North corporation recently passed a resolution to impose “way leave charges” for road cutting at 10 per cent of the value of land being used.
Telecom companies or government agencies that use services of the municipal corporations for laying of sewerage systems, power cables or gas pipelines will also be charged one-time usage charge of Rs 547 per running metre.