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BMC paves the way for trouble

With the monsoons fast approaching, there’s one thing on every motorists’ mind: how they would endure the backbreaking drives owing to the huge potholes further compounded with the use of paver blocks, which will lose their grip and get dislodged from their base once they receive the battering of the heavy seasonal rains.

As part of MiD DAY’s road campaign, we analyse the use of paver blocks by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) despite the government’s Public Works Department (PWD) insisting on using asphalt and concrete on highways this year as part of their monsoon precautions.


Workers toil hard to place the blocks on the road outside Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel

Officials from the PWD started removing paver blocks from both the Eastern and Western Express Highways due to the unevenness that they cause.

Officialspeak
Commenting on the problems, a PWD official said, “We received several complaints about the paver blocks, which motorists affected traffic flow too. Hence, the PWD decided to replace paver blocks with tar roads.”

However, the civic body continues to fill potholes on several roads with paver blocks and there are no signs of smoothening the troubles away.


Paver blocks used at Vikhroli Parksite road to fill up a pothole

Authorities had begun using paver blocks in 2000-2001. However, initially, they were meant to be used only at junctions. But, with the passage of time authorities started using them on footpaths and pavements too and also on roads, making several citizens sore. And apart from just using them to fill potholes, civic body officials have been using the blocks to clear bad patches on asphalt and cement concrete roads too for the past five-six years.


Many motorists complain of the unevenness of roads owing to the blocks. Pic/sameer markande and Rakesh Karmokar

A BMC road department official told MiD DAY that potholes are filled with paver blocks but only as an emergency measure to provide temporary relief to motorists.

Voices
The road engineers of each ward have been told to repair roads and footpaths with paver blocks before the monsoon
— Rahul Shewale, chairman of BMC’s Standing Committee

The BMC has not started repair on roads in several places across the city, which will surely cause chaos during the monsoon and these paver blocks will only make matters worse
— Dilip Lande, MNS leader

Though paver blocks are good, they are not being used efficiently. Paver blocks are vulnerable to accidents and should be used in a garden or jogging track or on footpaths as a utility cover. 

— Prakash Sangilkar, former deputy municipal commissioner 

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