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Eye on polls, BMC to clear another Rs 375 cr to fix roads

In phase II of fixing roads, standing committee will approve the amount to plug potholes on minor roads; last month, it had sanctioned Rs 550 cr for major roads 
 
In an attempt to gain credibility, the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is hurriedly trying to fix the potholed roads in the city, what with civic elections round the corner. Standing Committee Chairman and Shiv Sena Corporator Rahul Shewale is pitching for the fixing of roads to be carried out at ward level, wherein the roads would be relayed only on the surface.



After receiving flak year after year due to the poor condition of city roads, the BMC passed contracts worth Rs 550 crore last month. In the second phase, they will pass Rs 375 crore worth of contracts to resurface 705 minor roads in mid-October.

The resurfacing would entail re-laying only the topmost bitumen layer, keeping the base layer of the road intact. Shewale informed that this method of resurfacing the roads was in use prior to the recommendations of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). But it was discontinued.

"The STAC-appointed consultants have estimated Rs 60 lakh to resurface a road. Prior to their recommendations, we were resurfacing one road at a cost of Rs 15 lakh. Now, we want to resurface roads for a lesser amount, " said Shewale.

Shewale elaborated that the contracts for resurfacing the roads would be given at ward level, where Rs 2 crore would be provided to each ward. "Roads in the city have uneven surfaces due to constant digging and laying of utility lines. The dug-up surfaces allow water to seep in, making them vulnerable to potholes, which are innumerable during monsoons. We are suggesting a preventive measure wherein the potholes would be cleared by resurfacing, and during the rains, only minor repairs would need to be done," said Shewale.

Explaining the resurfacing process, S Badve, Chief Engineer (Roads and Bridges) said, "Re-laying means that the foundation or the base of the road is not touched and only the bituminous layer is resurfaced which can be of 50-65mm while the asphalt or concrete layer is 75mm."

"Bridges are being resurfaced, but roads have yet not been decided as there would be a requirement of a separate budget. We are building 161 roads in the first phase and 544 in the second phase, the remaining will be done later." He further informed that four bridges from the city area, one of which is the Kesavsuth Bridge in Dadar and another in the eastern suburbs, would be taken up for resurfacing.

The spurt of activity comes as the BMC gears up for the civic elections in February next year. Thanks to rutted roads, its image has taken a hit in recent years, as the richest civic body in India hasn't been able to maintain roads for its citizens.

Also, it's facing stiff opposition from its detractor Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

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