mid-day editorial: Do we dare to dream of a pothole-free city?
With just three months to go for the monsoon and the clock already ticking, the city still has a long way to go to become rain ready. A report in this paper cited that out of 558 roads currently dug up, 328 have been completed only up to 20 per cent, 113 have reached 50 per cent, and 114 have touched 75 per cent.
The BMC will have to press the gas pedal when it comes to finishing road repairs. While there are plenty of jokes about moon-faced Mumbai, there’s a serious side to the craters - injuries and, in extreme cases, death. The threat is particularly higher for bikers and pillion riders, who can fly off the vehicle when it hits a pothole.
Road repairs need to be started much earlier to avoid this race against time to complete roads before the monsoon. When there is enough time, it also gives the civic authorities the bandwidth to choose quality contractors who do stellar work. When there is a time crunch, there is a tendency to let slipshod work pass through. Then, we see the result of that haste - recently repaired roads crack open soon and potholes appear. Despite this, the contractors, who have been blacklisted in the past, are forgiven and are told to work again on the roads, and the cycle begins again.
There are excuses for the stuttering pace of road works, like the constant traffic in the city and the need for a slew of permissions from different agencies. Yet, when the civic authorities know that there are so many challenges, they need to start sooner to meet the May 31 deadline. We are hoping against hope that these few days are enough to get in all major repairs. More importantly, these repairs need to be of the highest quality, as the standard of repairs cannot be sacrificed on the altar of speed. Do we dare to dream of a pothole-free Mumbai?