With the number of craters increasing on city roads, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) penalty charges have been hiked.
The civic body recently levied a penalty of Rs 5 lakh each on five pothole-filling contractors, the amount being 25 times higher than what was charged till last year. Officials confirmed that BMC charged a minimum of Rs 20,000 from contractors for using sub-standard material for filling craters until last year.
According to a recent circular, BMC conducted an interim quality check for seven contractors handling the pothole repair works. Of the seven, five contractors failed the test.
S V R Srinivas, Additional Municipal Commissioner, in-charge of the Roads Department said, “The amount levied is high but this is a signal for contractors to use good-quality material for repair works.” According to officials, the contractors failed the Marshall stability test which is used to check the bitumen content (the amount of asphalt), density of the mix used to fill the potholes and the load it can carry after repairs. The number of craters on city roads have increased tremendously following the July 19 rainfall, when the city received more than 280 mm of rainfall.
Officials confirmed that BMC will undertake regular check to keep a tab on the works undertaken by contractors in the city. The civic body will also conduct a third-party audit after the monsoon season on the quality of the repair works.
This year, BMC had allocated Rs 14 crore for pothole repair work, 50 per cent less than last year’s allocation. Till date, the BMC’s official pothole-tracking website http://www.voiceofcitizen.com has recorded 1,589 craters, of which 1,414 potholes have been repaired. The highest number of potholes were recorded in the L ward that includes Kurla.