Ahead of the monsoon, the imported mix the civic body has purchased to repair the city’s roads is yet to arrive. The material, which has been shipped from Israel and Austria, is still en route. Officials expect that the mix will reach Mumbai by the end of this month.
Following the directions of the Bombay High Court, after several rounds of testing of material from various international and national agencies, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) roads department had purchased 38 tonnes of material from two firms — Eco Green Infrastructure Development, Austria, and Smart Age Products, Israel.
The mix cost the civic body around Rs 70 lakh, said an official. “Since the material is heavy, it was shipped from both Israel and Austria last month. While the first shipment is expected to arrive by June 22, the second is likely to reach by June 30,” said a civic official.
The official added that once the ships arrive, the material will be stored at BMC’s asphalt plant, and will be sent to the ward office, as per requirement. “The material is very expensive and we have to ensure that it is not misused. We thus, cannot divide it and give to all the wards. We will closely monitor the use and detailed records will be maintained,” added an official.
He insisted that there is no delay in the arrival of the material, as heavy rains will only occur in July.
Meanwhile, as per the India Meteorological Department, monsoon is set to hit the city from June 9. The disaster management department has identified six days of high tide in June, six in July, four in August and two in September. The highest tide, measuring 4.97 metres, is expected to hit the city on June 25.
Last year, the condition of the roads during the monsoon was so bad that the HC took up the matter as a suo-motu public interest litigation. The court had directed the BMC to consult with experts from IIT and Central Road
Research Institute and ensure that material of better quality is used this year.
Before the HC order, the BMC used to manufacture its pothole mix, called the ‘cold mix’ which comprises bitumen.
However, the material was unable to withstand heavy rains even for a few weeks. Later, the BMC decided to purchase a small amount for this year, and since the material was expensive, the civic body decided to set up their own mixing plant to produce the material similar to the one they have purchased.
Civic officials, however, said the expression of interest for the project of setting up the mixing plant at Worli failed to get enough response from the bidders. “We floated the expression of interest for the project on May 4 and after the deadline on May 24, we received a response from only one company. We have now extended the time period till the first week of June,” said an official.
He added that the plan is to modify the existing plant at Worli, so both the new material and the cold mix can be produced, simultaneously.
The official pointed out that bidders will be required to submit a sample of their material, which will be generated by the modified plant. “Before the final specifications and cost estimate of the plant is decided, the material will be tested by a technical committee comprising three engineers from the roads department, one mechanical engineer and one professor from IIT Bombay,” he said.