Last year, the civic body claimed that it had come with the ultimate citizen-friendly solution to the problem of potholes plaguing the city and depleting it of over Rs 57 lakh in a single year.
The ‘solution’ came at a staggering price of Rs 60 lakh, and entailed a fancy app compatible only with android phones, which would allow commuters to ‘track’ the city’s potholes by uploading pictures of them onto a Google maps-assisted interface monitored by the civic agency (‘If you can’t fix ‘em, map ‘em!’ September 15, MiD DAY).
Five months since the launch, the civic body’s ambitious, extravagant and naïve attempt to rope in motorists for the tedious work of documenting the city’s pothole-ridden stretches seems to have fallen flat on its face.
Outdoing the civic body in apathy, the tracking system has been given a wide berth by citizens, with only about 340 people bothering to download it and upload pictures of bad roads.
In the absence of takers from civil society, it has now become a flamboyant record-keeping device for civic workers. Over a 100 photographs have been uploaded by the civic road officials themselves.
Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner (roads) conceded, “We are getting a poor response for the pothole tracking system. However, our officials are using it for their records.”
The ambitious pothole tracking system was announced on September 15 last year, and the plan was implemented in November. To provide software and training to civic officials, BMC roped in the services of Pune-based firm Probity Soft Pvt Ltd.
The fact that only android mobiles can use the software and upload photographs of the potholes may have something to do with the limited response it has received.
“In order to improve the response, we are trying to connect it to social networking sites like Facebook, as these interfaces are an active medium for people of all age groups,” said Shantanu Kulkarni, director of Probity Soft.
He also mentioned that engineers at Chembur (M-east and west) and Bandra (H-west) wards were implementing the tracking system effectively.
Speak for the roads
How the system works
-Find the link to the pothole tracking software www.voiceofcitizen.com on BMC’s website http://mcgm.gov.in/
-Download the software onto your Android cell phone. Android phones are a pre-requisite, as potholes are marked on Google maps, which are only compatible with android technology. Once the software is downloaded, you are ready to start reporting potholes.
-To pinpoint the location of the pothole, click on ‘location’, and then upload the photograph.
The site automatically recognises and registers the location. You must also submit your cell number to receive an SMS in confirmation.
-The progress made in repair of the pothole can be tracked continuously on the website.
-The concerned BMC engineers in the different wards receive an SMS and email informing them about the new upload. The same system has been made available to BMC engineers who can also upload photographs.
-A moderation team of the software company has been deployed at BMC headquarters to filter the data uploaded and check its authenticity.
www.voiceofcitizen.com to download the app
The no of people who used the app to upload pictures of bad roads