Paver blocks will soon be a thing of the past if current work is anything to go by. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to make the city completely free of paver blocks. Citizens have been complaining for many years about the nightmare they cause. The first phase of the war on paver blocks began six months ago. The corporation has started to remove paver blocks on 50 minor roads and 10 major roads in island city, including Dharavi main road. Work has also begun in the Western suburbs. In the Eastern suburbs, blocks are being removed from over 27 roads, including major and minor ones. Officials said the first phase of removal of current paver blocks would be completed by April 15, and work would restart post-monsoon. The blocks are being replaced by tar and cement roads. Paver blocks on footpaths too are being removed.

While listening to citizens and motorists is important, one has to take into account the fact that stupendous sums of money have been spent on these roads. This is all tax payers’ money. Now, they are being dug up and re-done, once again with tax payers’ money. This is a colossal waste of money, all because of the myopia of the people initiating the project. Before the paver blocks were put, one needed to have tests about whether they would be feasible for our roads.

There should have been extensive studies about the viability of paver blocks and only then, the roads should have been paved with them. In this way, today, citizens are being put to hardship with all the digging work going on, traffic jams are acute and it is a waste of money, time and effort for everybody concerned. Sadly, this is only a microcosm of how many infrastructure projects in the city are made.

While infrastructure is necessary and upkeep is the name of the game, it is important to have long term vision at inception itself, to save duplication of work and money. A proper plan and thorough whetting of pros and cons before any project is undertaken, is the need of the hour.