It appears that the BMC is decided on sparing the rod and spoiling the roads. This monsoon, about 269 road engineers will be free to do or not do their work of keeping roads in a drivable condition, as there are going to be no consequences for doing a shoddy job.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided not to fine its engineers for ditch-addled roads, or take any other punitive action against them. The administration has confidently declared that there will be bad roads and potholes in the city, owing to system faults as well as the fact that not all roads have been concretised.
Incidentally, the pre-monsoon concerns of corporators remained unaddressed, when the same contractors were seen conducting pothole repairs as the ones appointed last year, when BMC drew heaps of flak from all quarters for ill-maintained, rugged and potholed roads. This is so because the contracts given last year were signed for two years.
Last year, at least there was the appearance of some sort of a consequence if engineers failed in keeping the roads up to the notch. Fines were imposed upon them for a poor performance. However, they were not recovered. BMC standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, who is also Engineers’ Union chairman, had requested the administration not to charge any fine from the engineers, in a show of leniency towards them. Incidentally, a fine of more than Rs 1.8 crore from about 100 road engineers was waived off, and the money has not yet been recovered from any of them.
Pin it on them
On the other hand, road engineers have been given financial authority to take decisions about levelling the roads allotted to them. The authorities believe that they can make the engineers answerable for city’s roads by such a move, and pinpoint where the problem lies in case of maintenance issues. Shewale said, “We need to keep our roads in good condition and the potholes need to be repaired, unlike last year. We need to make someone accountable for bad roads, someone we can call and ask what is happening with our roads.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta, in charge of the road department, said, “The whole of the road department, including I, will be held responsible. We have given financial powers to road engineers so we can hold them accountable for sturdy repairs. We will not fine engineers as we want to encourage them to do their job well.”