The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a fine of Rs 2.29 crore on road contractors who have failed to carry out pothole repairs on time and have not maintained the standard quality of roads. The penalty has been slapped on pothole-repair contractors and contractors of roads that have recently resurfaced and are under the defect liability period.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu said,We may even consider increasing the penalty amount and blacklisting some of the contractors. This year,we will also fine our own road engineers for negligence after we calculate the penalties on the new points system.
According to the civic roads department the highest penalties on defaulters include Transconduct Pvt Ltd roughly fined Rs 25 lakh for shoddy repair works in Andheri (west) and Dahisar,Atasha Ashirwad fined over Rs 12 lakh for poor work in Andheri (East) and Kandivali and RPS Infraprojects collectively fined Rs 11.5 lakh in joint venture contracts.
This year,BMC had issued pre-monsoon contracts worth Rs 59 crore for filling potholes in the island city,eastern and western suburbs. Around 14 firms were appointed for the work. According to the terms of the contract,contractors had 48 hours to fill potholes assigned to them. A fine of Rs 1,000 for a days delay was set as a condition in 2012.
In July,following increasing public criticism,the civic body conducted a quality test on potholes that were filled. It was revealed that 25 per cent of the cold mix used to repair potholes is substandard,indicating misappropriation of funds by contractors. The civic body imposed a fine worth Rs 2.05 crore on contractors and even cancelled the contract of Atasha Ashirwad.
While the amount of fines imposed on contractors has shown a rough 30 per cent increase from previous years (where Rs 1.8 crore worth of penalties were levied on contractors),the number of potholes reported has increased by close to 60 per cent. According to the BMCs pothole tracking website http://www.voiceofcitizen.com,38,500 pothole complaints were registered this year.
Last year,in four months,citizens reported 25,000 potholes on the website.
The amounts of fine have been imposed taking into account the quality failure. Payments of the contractors will be accordingly deducted. There may be an increase in the number of potholes reported because our own engineers are using the website to upload the work they are undertaking. Also,people are now more aware of this system of reporting, a senior civic official of the roads department said.