Since last November,only two potholes on Mumbais minor roads have been repaired by contractors under their defect liability agreement. A shockingly low total of 96 potholes have been recorded since November on these minor roads,which total about 100 km in length. Officials said the abysmal performance of these ward-level road contractors is now being taken up by senior officials of the BMC.
The data provided by Probity Software,which has been appointed by the civic body to detect and track potholes in the city,pertains to ward-level road contractors who are expected to repair all potholes recorded on stretches they maintain during their defect liability period (DLP) for no additional cost. So far,these 120-odd contractors have repaired only two of the 96 potholes recorded on their roads.
These contractors,who work under a DLP of three years,are accountable for roads they build or maintain in the citys 24 administrative wards. Their work includes reinstatement of trenches and pothole-filling on roads allotted to them. This also includes repairing roads damaged by water pipeline repairs,sewerage operations,building of bridges,micro-tunnelling works or any other civic works.
Road Department officials estimate that these contractors are responsible for over 100 km of roads,over and above those handled by contractors appointed by the department centrally.
Following their poor performance,the civic administration has now threatened to blacklist the contractors.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta said,There is an abnormal delay in repairing potholes falling under DLP of the contractors. Despite levying penalty on them,the repair work is not expedited. We have decided to blacklist all those contractors who delay pothole repair work. Once blacklisted,they will not be allowed to work for the BMC.
The civic body will also assign potholes not attended by the contractors to a specifically appointed pothole repair contractor. While the current penalty is Rs 1,000 per day for not attending to potholes,Gupta said the BMC will now levy a fine amounting to twice the cost of repairing a pothole.
Meanwhile,the number of potholes reported under these ward-level contractors is not exhaustive,an official said. Potholes on minor roads,where trenching work is in progress,are not reported properly. The software banks on citizens and civic engineers to upload pictures of potholes and the software largely concentrates on major roads, said the official. For example,numerous narrow lanes are not on Google Maps. As a result,those potholes are not counted,he said.
While ward-level contractors mostly repair roads less than 30 ft wide,the Roads Department hands out contracts for wider roads. Almost 45 per cent of the citys roads are handled by ward-level contractors.