The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s claim that only 550 potholes were reported on the city’s roads during monsoon has come under a cloud with residents claiming the rains had rendered several stretches unnavigable.
According to the civic body data, its pothole management app, My BMC-PotholeFixit, received 566 complaints till August 20. Of these, 424 have been attended to and remaining 103 are pending for action. The maximum number of potholes — 48 — were reported in L ward, comprising Kurla, the data revealed. Also, of the 103 pending potholes, at least 67 were on the roads under the jurisdiction of other agencies like MMRDA, SRA layout, PWD, and MHADA.
Over the last month, the city was pounded by heavy rainfall that washed away or left clefts on several roads. Several pothole complaints were reported from Ghatkopar’s Pant Nagar near the Eastern Express Highway, on Brij Lal Manik Astik Marg in Mulund (west), and on a road near Western Express Highway (WEH) Metro station in Andheri (east).
Mushtaq Ansari, who has earned the sobriquet “pothole warrior”, said over the last month roads surfaces in many areas had been severely affected due to the rain. “In the last five days, I have filled around 400 potholes across the city. In some cases, newly resurfaced roads were washed away and filled with potholes. BMC is depending on citizens’ complaints rather than proactively fixing these,” Ansari said.
The newly built SNDT nullah bridge on Juhu Tara Road had developed potholes soon after the civic body had opened it for the public on August 1. The civic body repaired the patch on Tuesday after citizens filed a complaint.
While roads are repaired every year, motorists said potholes reappeared after first few showers. “The service road along the Western Express Highway near Santacruz (east) is located very close to the BMC ward office, but potholes on it have not been filled yet. I got to know that in July the stretch was repaired, but was washed away by the subsequent showers,” Kaushelndra Dubey, a Santacruz resident, said, questioning the quality of repair work.
The civic body, which is temporarily using paver blocks to fix potholes, meanwhile, said despite the pandemic they have addressed most complaints. “Amid Covid-19 outbreak, our staff is attending to potholes as soon as they receive a complaint. So far, 1,159 tonne of cold mix material has been distributed for repairing potholes. Although fewer potholes have been reported this year, due to recent rainfall the numbers are rising. There are several roads under other agencies that are in bad condition. We are coordinating with them to repair the patches as soon as possible,” said a senior official from the civic body’s Roads department. In 2019, the civic body had received around 1,100 complaints of potholes till July.
Opposition leader in the civic body and Congress corporator Ravi Raja said, “The BMC pothole tracking app has received fewer complaints this year. But it doesn’t mean the situation has improved, rather it is worse. This is because of less traffic due to travel restrictions. BMC must promote this app vigorously.”
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