Digging, seepage, encroachments, waterlogging, delayed tenders — several factors have left long stretches of roads that come under the Public Works Department (PWD) damaged, inspections undertaken by teams of 50 AAP MLAs and engineers on Saturday found.
Armed with smartphones equipped with a customised app, AAP MLAs, accompanied by local PWD engineers, fanned out across the capital to create a database of potholes and uneven stretches under the instructions of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Around 1,260 km of roads in Delhi, with a width of 60 metres or more, come under the PWD.
The Indian Express tracked Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who undertook the survey with PWD assistant engineer (Malviya Nagar) S K Dohrey between 10 am and 1 pm. Bhardwaj, the party’s chief spokesperson, began by uploading images of an uneven stretch outside Chirag Delhi Metro station on the now defunct BRT corridor — one of the busiest arterial roads in South Delhi.
Each MLA was given a separate username and password to upload images of damaged stretches on an app, Commcare, which had the geographical coordinates embedded in them. While uploading, MLAs had to choose among “potholes, uneven stretches and others” options. The “others” option covered damage caused by digging carried out by agencies such as the Jal Board and private power discoms.
The government had implemented the amended road restoration policy in May 2018, under which agencies which dig roads for laying pipelines or cables have to restore them as well. But a round of GK revealed that the amended policy has achieved little. Dohrey said the agencies usually do patchwork using “instantaneous bitumen”, which doesn’t last.
The team next visited Zamrudpur near East of Kailash, where constant seepage from an overflowing drain line had damaged a busy junction. The underground drain overflows as many people connected their sewer lines directly to it, said Bhardwaj.
The team also visited upscale areas such as GK 1, CR Park and Pamposh Enclave, where it came across roads left unattended after digging work and large-scale encroachments on sidewalks.
Ravidas Marg, which connects Tughlaqabad with Kalkaji Mandir, and the Sheikh Sarai-Apeejay School road were found in particularly bad condition. Dohrey claimed the Sheikh Sarai road is part of 10 roads in the area which are up for strengthening. “PWD roads are relaid every five years. Ten roads in this constituency will be strengthened as part of that; tenders will be floated this month,” he said.
Bhardwaj, however, alleged the PWD has been making the same claim for the last few months. Dohrey said the agencies laying utility lines are supposed to ensure that cables or pipes are at a depth of at least 1.2 metres from the road surface, but the stipulation is routinely flouted.
The government has tried carrying out post-repair surveys involving MLAs and officials several times in the past. The attempts did not meet with much success, prompting a rethink and the resultant pre-repair survey.
The CM tweeted that such a survey was being carried for the first time in the country. Each MLA will cover 25 km and instant repairs will follow, he added. However, on the ground, MLAs and PWD officials said it will take time as repairs will be carried out after evaluating the uploaded posts.