While it is true that expectations are as low as a bottomless pit when it comes to the condition of our bent, broken and rain-beaten roads, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s recent attempts to cover up some glaring holes in road work done by BMC contractors will shock even the most hardened of commuters.
In a written reply to a query that had been raised by MLCs in the state council earlier, Chavan on Wednesday refused to blame the civic body for the quality of road concretisation work carried out by it.
Chavan’s response said that it would not be appropriate to term the quality of work as ‘inferior’.
The rationale that accompanied the dubious clean chit was even more flawed. Chavan explained that the BMC had given the task of supervising the work to the Swiss firm SGS, which specialises in quality control and certification of road work; ergo, the work done could not have been below par.
In their query, Congress members Charansingh Sapra and Sanjay Dutt had pointed out that road works had been completed at the cost of crores in the civic wards M-east,
M-west, L, N, S and T. They contended that the quality of work was so poor that no bills should be made out in favour of the contractor responsible for the shoddy job. Rising to the defence of the BMC and its chosen contractors, the CM -- who heads the urban development department -- said that their work merited payment, and that it would not be proper to stop payment to the contractor, or to label their work as inferior.
The CM’s reply comes as a major relief to Shiv Sena and BJP, the ruling combine at the BMC, which has come under fire for the deplorable condition of roads this monsoon.
Standing committee stalls use of pothole filling machines
Pressing the three pothole-filling Jetpatcher machines into action, which the BMC has been promising for the last four years, may not materialise this year too. But this time the blame can be pinned on the Standing Committee, as it is yet to clear the decks for the use of the multi-crore machines that were purchased at a whopping Rs 68 crore. Standing Committee Chairperson Rahul Shewale said, “We will consider the proposal next week, as we wanted to decide the current state of potholes and roads in the city.” The civic body was supposed to hire an agency and give it the contract to operate the machines by May 31, plans for which were chalked out in April. But the proposal reached the Standing Committee late, due to a technical glitch, following which the committee decided to defer its decision by two weeks. The decision on hiring an agency remains pending till date.
-- Chetna Yerunkar
Approximate number of potholes we counted on Elphinstone Road flyover yesterday