The promise made by the BMC four years ago of using three Jetpatcher machines to make the city’s roads pothole-free is still just a promise, as the machines, which cost a total of Rs 68 crore, have been lying unused at the workshops of the roads department, for the want of operators.
The civic body was supposed to hire an agency to look after the machines and use them to fill potholes. But now, road experts claim that the machines have become more of a burden than an asset for the civic body.
They also say that the BMC, rather than wasting money on purchasing modern machinery to fix roads, could have done the job by properly implementing regular techniques such asasphalting.
Former road engineer Nandkumar Salvi said, “Buying these machines is a waste of public money because if proper techniques are not used, potholes will resurface. If good quality roads are constructed, then there is no need for buying such machines. All machines, even Jetpatchers, are useless during monsoons. It is better to find out the reasons potholes get created and appoint a consultant who can guide them in abetter way.”
The machines were purchased in 2009 to fix bad roads. The BMC received over 29,000 complaints last year on its pothole tracking system, up from a mere 5,000 complaints in 2011. It was then decided to hire an agency to operate and maintain the Jetpatchers, but it is yet to be done.
BMC chief engineer (roads, bridges and traffic) D R Dixit said, “We are still figuring out the agencies and will appoint a new one by floating tenders. We will use the machines this monsoon.”
Did you know?
A Jetpatcher uses a simple four-stage process. The troubled area is cleaned and prepared, sealed, filled and cured in one operation. Permanent repairs are made with bitumen emulsion, which last as long as repairs using hot rolled asphalt. Repairs done using these machines are reportedly completed within 15 minutes.