DESPITE being pulled up by the Bombay High Court for the large number of potholes that formed on the city roads during monsoon last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is still not ready to deal with the complaints.
While one batch of imported material to repair the roads reached the city a couple of days ago, arrival of the second batch has been delayed, even as the roads department has started receiving pothole complaints.
Following directions of HC, after testing pothole filling material sourced from various international and national agencies, the roads department purchased 38 tonnes of material from two firms — Eco Green Infrastructure Development from Austria and Smart Age Products from Israel — last year worth around Rs 70 lakh. While the material that was shipped from Israel arrived earlier this week, the material from Austria that was supposed to reach by June 30 is expected to arrive by the first week of July.
“The first batch has arrived and it is stored at the asphalt plant in Worli. We are expecting the ship carrying the second batch to reach by July 5,” said a roads department official. He said after a couple of weeks of rain, they have started receiving pothole-related complaints.
“We have received a few complaints and they are largely about roads that could not be completed before the monsoon or those that were partially completed and had to be brought to a safe stage,” he said.
According to roads department officials, of the 2,110 works taken up as part of Priority II or Project Works categories, work on 882 stretches could not be completed and will now be taken up in October, after the monsoon.
Officials said that to use the imported material, the ward officer will have to apply through an online system. “To keep a close watch on the use of the imported material, we have asked ward officers to apply, and the approval will be granted online. The ward official can take a printout of the approval and collect the material from Worli,” said an official.
After the BMC’s pothole tracking system was scrapped last year, the civic body has not put in place any measure to track craters on the roads and will rely on complaints filed by residents.
Last year, civic chief Ajoy Mehta asked engineers to visit roads to monitor the number of potholes and ensure that work is completed fast. No such system has been put in place this year.
“We will react as per the complaints we receive. Apart from the disaster management’s helpline, 1916, we have two other helpline numbers, 1292 and 1293. We have also launched a WhatsApp number where people can report about potholes and we will take up the repairs,” said an official.
He added that a system to monitor the complaints is being set up since the monsoon has barely started.