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Agencies owe us answers for bad roads

As the rains have gone into high gear, so has another feature: potholes on our roads. For some days now, this newspaper has been carrying reports about potholes cropping up on roads that were supposed to be repaired and in mint condition for the rains.

Motorists using the Western Express Highway (WEH) are a harried lot, thanks to the several potholes that have cropped up all over the stretch between Dahisar and Bandra, reports state. The responsible parties are two different government agencies, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the Public Works Department (PWD).

When the agencies were asked what could be done about the potholes, one answer was that they can only be repaired when a dry spell occurs. One agency (PWD) blamed the other saying that they had written several letters to the MSRDC to get potholes repaired but had received no response.

These answers are typical instances of authorities passing the buck between themselves, trying to shirk their responsibility. Meanwhile, the commuter may be paying the price for the constant dithering between these two agencies as they try to blame each other for the shoddy condition of the road.

Commuters are the ones dealing with battered vehicles, strained necks and general health conditions as they negotiate these potholes every day. What is surprising is that many roads had just been repaired before the rains, in order to be able to withstand torrid spells of rain.

Agencies have spent huge chunks of money on getting roads repaired and ready and all this at the taxpayers’ expense. They are answerable to the people. What use is this money if the roads have fallen apart once again?

Some officials are claiming that work was not properly done. If this be the case, one needs to know why this is the case. Sadly, potholes have become a regular feature of the monsoon in Mumbai, a given every year, one could say, and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.

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