INCESSANT rainfall over the last few days has added to the woes of people owing to further delays in repairs of potholes. While the heavy showers especially in central Mumbai and the suburbs have impacted road surfaces afresh, long traffic snarls have been reported in several parts of the city, especially in the western suburbs.
According to the India Meteorological Department data, Mumbai received the highest 24-hour rainfall over the last four years between 8.30 am on Tuesday and 8.30 am on Wednesday — 142.6 mm in Santa Cruz. On Wednesday, while Colaba received 94.6 mm of rainfall, the weather station at Santa Cruz recorded a rainfall of 44.4 mm. The IMD officials predicted intermittent showers for Thursday, adding heavy rains are likely to occur at a few places.
Even as the BMC’s roads department claimed that only 35 potholes are left to be filled, corporators across party lines slammed the administration on Wednesday, pointing out that there are hundreds of potholes in the city which need need of repairs urgently. Members of opposition parties staged a walkout from Wednesday’s standing committee meeting which was then cancelled.
Currently, there are 200 to 300 potholes only between Dadar Kabutarkhana and Sena Bhavan, said Sandeep Deshpande, an MNS corporator.
“These roads fall under the defect liability period and yet the contractors have not made any effort to repair them while certain potholes have been refilled multiple times. When you call the contractors, they don’t respond. They should be flogged in public for causing inconvenience to citizens,” he said.
Attacking Shiv Sena and the civic administration, opposition leader and Congress corporator Pravin Chheda pointed out that despite writing to the vigilance department, no action has been taken against the contractors who have failed to repair the potholes within the given time period.
“The vigilance department, in a letter dated August 24, had stated that the chief engineer of the roads department will issue letters to the contractors to repair the potholes within 48 hours, else face a penalty. But till date, no such action has been taken,” said Chheda.
Taking note of the complaints put forth by the corporators, the civic administration has admitted that the number of potholes has increased in last few days. “The number of potholes has indeed increased due to the heavy rainfall in last few days. We will fill them up as soon as we get a dry spell. All contractors have been asked to fill up the potholes on time. Also, we will take action against contractors for any delay,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, Additional Municipal Commissioner.
Sena received criticism from their ally BJP as well. “The mayor showed promptness in writing to the chief minister while objecting to the inauguration of a swimming pool. Then, why can’t she show the same promptness in filling of potholes and controlling dengue and malaria in the city? Sena needs to go beyond taking credit for development works and work on issues which are sensitive to people,” said Ram Kadam, BJP legislator, who met Mayor Snehal Ambekar on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum on various civic issues.
Apart from two incidents of partial house collapses — one in the city and the other in the eastern suburbs — there were 11 incidents of short-circuit in various parts of the city on Wednesday.
In one of the incidents which occurred in Wadala, 47-year-old Santosh Lad, a BEST official, suffered an electric shock when he was carrying out a repair work. He was rushed to KEM Hospital where he was declared dead.
The heavy rainfall on Tuesday between 1 pm and 7 pm collided with the high tide which led to waterlogging in a few areas in the western and eastern suburbs. The machinery, including de-watering pumps, were activated immediately.
While Mumbai Police tweeted in the afternoon about “South-bound traffic on WEH at Malad, Jogeshwari and Vakola slow due to rains and potholes”, the traffic police too reported heavy traffic across the city, especially in the western and northern suburbs with the WEH among the worst-hit areas.
“This traffic also affected other connecting areas like T Junction, Bandra Kurla Compex and Vakola,” an official said. Apart from the western suburbs, there were traffic snarls on the L J Road near Sena Bhawan, Tulsiwadi, Tardeo and Haji Ali Junction, said a police official.