Aiming to build a master-list of all city roads and repair works conducted on them, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is undertaking a detailed study of all major and minor roads. Following submission of an enquiry report in the Rs 2,000-crore roads scam, the BMC will now monitor expenditure made by the roads department on every stretch.
While a study of roads in the western suburbs has recently been conducted, civic chief Ajoy Mehta has ordered the study for the eastern suburbs and the island city as well. Civic officials said the study will help create a master list of roads, which will in turn help streamline repair work and increase cost efficiency of tenders floated by the roads department.
“The findings will help track the progress of road work and encourage better monitoring of expenses. For instance, roads that fall under the Defect Liability Period (DLP) should not be touched at all. A software proposed earlier will now be used by the senior administration to ensure that needless expenditure is not being made,” Mehta told The Indian Express.
Findings of the pan-Mumbai study are expected to be submitted in a week’s time. The study of major and minor roads in the western suburbs indicated that no further work should be proposed for 70 per cent of major roads and 40 per cent of minor roads on which work is either at the finishing stage or has just been completed.
Asked about the findings, additional municipal commissioner Idzes Kundan said: “After conducting a ward-wise study of roads, we found that of the 966 major roads in the western suburbs, about 70 per cent are within categories like Priority II and Defect Liability Period. Such roads include cement concrete stretches that shouldn’t be touched for 10 years.”
Another civic official said tenders for road work are often issued when there is no need to do so. “Officials from the roads department will often propose road work under the pretext of repairing roads where utilities have been laid, for instance by the storm water drains department. It is a pointless expenditure since the road can simply be levelled instead of proposing work on the entire stretch,” said a civic official.
“As a result, work is taken up on a large number of roads every year and (it) is unable to meet the monsoon deadlines,” he added. Senior civic officials said the highest number of toads that were inspected are in the western suburbs followed by the city zone and then the eastern suburbs. Kundan added that around 9 per cent of roads need to be reviewed periodically while work is needed on only 5 per cent of the roads, which amounts to around 50 roads. “Even for these, there should be a checklist where excavation and quantum of work should be decided based on the requirement,” she said.
Similarly, of the 1,118 minor roads in the city, work on 40 per cent has been completed recently or is nearing completion, another 44 per cent of roads is in good condition and they don’t need further work. While around 10 per cent of minor roads need periodic review, work is needed to be taken up on only 6 per cent of the roads.
After inquiry reports of the Rs 150 crore de-silting scam and the Rs 2,000 crore roads scam came in the public domain, the civic administration decided to reduce the budgetary allocation of the scam-hit departments. In the “realistic” civic budget announced in March this year, the allocation for both storm water drains as well as the roads departments had been downsized. The roads department has been allocated Rs 1,095 crore significantly lesser than last year’s allocation of Rs 2,886 crore for repairs and reconstruction.