Facing a dip in revenues, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will not take up any new road projects this year and instead focus on finishing ongoing repair works.
From October, apart from the already initiated repair works, the civic body had planned taking up new road projects over a 289 km stretch — concrete as well as asphalt — across Mumbai.
“Taking note of the strain on finances, we have been asked not to take up any new road works. Whatever works had been initiated in April, we will focus on finishing them after the monsoon is over. From October 1, work on road repairs will resume,” said a senior official from BMC’s roads and traffic department. Before monsoon, repair works had started on 400 roads, officials said.
Following a shortfall in revenue, budget cuts of Rs 2,500 crore were approved by the BMC on August 20. The move was particularly hard on the ailing Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) as Rs 500 crore was slashed from the financial aid that was promised to the undertaking. From the roads and traffic department, Rs 600 crore was slashed, of which Rs 125 crore was allocated for concretisation of roads.
This year, BMC had made a provision of Rs 1,600 crore — an increase of 9 per cent from the 2019-20 budget — for road improvement projects, which also included repair of junctions.
Officials said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, contractors are facing difficulty in hiring labourers. “Before monsoon, at many sites, work was going on at a very slow pace. Now, looking at the current situation, the problem may persist. After monsoon, once works resume, there may still be shortage of labour due to Covid-19,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Infrastructure) Sanjay Darade.
So far, BMC has received more than 600 complaints on potholes this monsoon. “Due to rains, two crucial links of S V Road (from Bandra to Dahisar) and L B S Road (Kurla to Mulund) have developed potholes at many locations. But now our team has attended to most of them,” said an engineer from the roads and traffic department.
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