After facing criticism for digging roads for laying telecommunication cables and gas pipelines, the civic body has now incurred the wrath of the residents of the city for the inconvenience caused by the ongoing concretisation work on roads.
The concretisation of roads was started under the JNNURM for widening the main road for BRTS. However, the work has now picked up pace and even small lanes in various parts of the city are getting a makeover from tar to concrete. In the past few years, the corporators’ demand for concrete roads in their electoral panels has got louder.
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The PMC has made a budgetary provision of Rs 175 crore for 2016-17 for road concretisation work. It comes to Rs 157 crore in the current fiscal. “Funds for this civic work, as suggested by the local corporators, has been incorporated in the budget. The corporators have been pushing hard for the concretisation of roads, saying the shelf life of concrete roads is more than that of tar roads,” said a civic officer.
‘Concretisation on corporators’ recommendations’
The civic administration generally took up concretisation work on roads which were wide and had heavy traffic, a civic officer said. However, work on lanes and small roads, which did not require to be concretised, was still being taken up on recommendations of corporators, he added. At present, roads in all ward office jurisdictions and electoral panels were being concretised. Few among these are the lanes connecting NIBM-Salunkhe Vihar road and Rasta Peth areas, Sinhagad road, Prabhat road, Karve road, Bhandarkar road. However, standing committee chairperson Balasaheb Bodke has said that the demand for concretisation of roads was for making roads pothole-free. “Concrete roads provide a smooth passage as they do not get damaged easily,” he said.
Activists lash out, say water being wasted
Civic activists had earlier raised alarm over the concretisation of roads, saying it would not yield any positive result and would instead lead to wastage of water at a time of severe water scarcity. “We had written to the civic administration to stop the work of concretisation of roads as it requires a lot of water and there is scarcity now, but unfortunately it did not pay attention to us,” said activist Vivek Velankar. Activist Tanmay Kanitkar said that all the claims made by the elected representatives and the civic administration on the benefit of concrete roads were false. “The concretisation of roads have led to flooding of residential colonies in the monsoon,” he said. The civic administration had failed to ensure sufficient provisions for utility services on roads before concretising them, he added. The PMC would undertake a major revamp of water supply lines in the city in the next few years, Kanitkar said, adding that the concrete roads would have to be dug as a result.
No need for concretising small lanes: BJP corporator
BJP corporator Madhuri Sahastrabudhe has said that she was personally against the concretisation of all roads. “The roads that have heavy traffic should be concretised as tar roads get damaged due to large number of vehicles plying on it. There is no need of concretising lanes or small roads, but most corporators prefer that,” she said. The inconvenience being caused due to the ongoing concretisation of roads was too much, Sahastrabudhe said, adding that the work had been going on for months.
“The residents will have to struggle for safe access to their respective residences as long as the concretisation work is on. This is not required. I have to urge the traffic police to make some changes in traffic on Karve road to reduce the inconvenience to locals due to concretisation work on the lanes near it,” she added.