ADDRESSING THE long-standing complaints of residents and corporators about the deteriorating quality of roads in the city, the municipal commissioner announced a number of measures to closely monitor the quality of road works on Wednesday.
During a standing committee meeting, civic chief Ajoy Mehta, said every corporator will be given an identification number and their past records will be available to everyone to increase transparency in the system.
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Mehta stated that the administration now maintains all records of transactions in a computerised format, which can be made available for public scrutiny. “Every contractor will be given a unique identification number and all transactions, notices, and penalties made to the contractor will be uploaded onto a site. The history of any contractor can thus be looked up by anyone using the number,” he said.
Corporators like Sandeep Deshpande, the MNS group leader, have raised the issue of trenches which are dug on roads all round the year and inconvenience the commuters and pedestrians alike. Referring to Deshpande’s complaints, Mehta said all agencies which need to dig trenches to lay utilities would have to seek permission from the civic body before August. “If someone seeks permission after August and has a genuine reason for doing so, they will only be allowed to apply until October and will have to pay a heavy penalty for the same,” he said.
Referring to the roads which come under the defect liability period and have not been repaired by the contractors, Mehta stated that directions have been issued to the roads department to monitor the work and repair the potholes where the contractors have failed to do so. He added that such contractors will be fined and action will be taken against them.
In the last meeting of the standing committee on October 13, corporators from all the parties had slammed the civic administration for its delay in repairing the potholes and underplaying the number of potholes on the city’s roads. Most of the parties had also decided to move a vote of no-confidence against the commissioner.
Even as the civic chief’s deadline of October 17 has gone by and the repair work is in progress in many areas, on Wednesday Mehta announced that there would be no counting of potholes henceforth. “We have done away with the system of counting potholes since we want to focus on the quality of pothole repairs. Engineers will be held directly accountable for the quality of the repairs,” he said. He added that apart from repair of potholes, the riding levels will also be checked.
The cold mix material to fill the potholes has received severe criticism from citizens and corporators alike, since the material has washed away after multiple applications to fill in potholes. Mehta stated that the BMC has consulted with the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and IIT Bombay to help design a material which can hold despite heavy rainfall. “We cannot give the excuse that Mumbai receives heavy rainfall. We are thus taking the help of IIT and CRRI to design a compound which can allow the material to be used during heavy rains and doesn’t need a dry spell to hold. We can then modify our plant at Worli or set up another plant and use the redesigned material from next monsoon onwards,” he said.