Days to go before Ganeshotsav,potholes remain a cause of worry not just for the BMC but for over 12,000 mandals who will need these roads to transport idols,some as tall as ten feet.
The BMC,having sanctioned Rs 20 crore over and above the road repair budget of Rs 40 crore and having set itself repeated deadlines,is fighting to get the work done before Saturday. Its defence against possible failure is that it is raining too much.
Newsline visited some of the roads frequently used by Ganesh processions. The busy road just outside Borivali (E) station has crater-sized potholes that caused buses and autos to tilt as they negotiated them. The 50-metre stretch takes more than 15 minutes to cross,said Yogesh Bafna,an auto driver.
Naresh Dahibawkar,president of the Brihanmumbai Sarvjanik Ganeshutsav Samanvay Samiti,said a survey in the last week of August found 5,437 potholes. Now the BMC has said that they will fill all in the next two days,which is next to impossible. If any idol falls off a truck due to potholes and breaks,it will be the collective responsibility of the government and the BMC, he said.
The Eastern Express Highway,especially the one near Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar from Ghatkopar to Chembur,has rough stretches. Vilas Chavan,president of the Barve Nagar Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal in Ghatkopar West,said they fear for their seven-foot-tall idol. The BMC has repaired the same road more than four times this year but the quality of work done by the contractors and the material used are so poor that the roads get potholes within hours of heavy rain, said Chavan.
Additional municipal commissioner in charge of roads,Aseem Gupta,was not available for comment. A senior official with the road department admitted the asphalt road mix being used for filling potholes is not suitable during the monsoon. The mix takes 24 hours to dry and gets spoilt very soon. Ideally,the BMC should invest in better mixes such as carbon core that are much more expensive but last longer than asphalt, said the official.
The BMCs latest method,filling potholes with paver blocks,has been questioned by experts such as N V Merani,who called such blocks useless in filling potholes. The holes dont get filled properly and in most cases a bump is developed which is equally dangerous for motorists, said Merani.