mid-day impact: Now, no road in Mumbai will be dug up twice

Following this paper’s report on the 4G race leaving city roads in tatters, civic chief orders all utilities to finish their work in one go whenever a road is dug up

The civic body’s got an earful, for allowing haphazard digging of roads, which resulted in more potholes, and hence it’s in damage control mode. In a recent meeting with all the heads of civic departments, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has made it stricter for utility agencies to secure permission for trenching, and also issued directives regarding methods used to fill up the pits.

This stretch at Matunga was left in a mess soon after it was dug up for laying cables
This stretch at Matunga was left in a mess soon after it was dug up for laying cables

The civic chief, said officials who were a part of the meeting, has taken a serious note of damage to newly constructed roads due to trenching, and hence, asked assistant municipal commissioners of all wards to coordinate with utility agencies.

A senior official said, “The agencies will be asked to put up boards on which they have to mention their name and dates of starting and finishing the work. This will help to create public pressure on them as well as civic officials to stick to the given deadline.”

Read Story: 4G race fallout: 685 km of roads dug up in 2 years in Mumbai

Before giving a particular utility firm permission to trench, the local ward official will have to check with all the other agencies whether they have any plan in the future to do similar work on the same stretch. The purpose is to avoid repeated digging in the same place to control damage to the road. The ward official has also been asked to ensure reinstatement of trenching as per the standard norms.

mid-day had reported (Sept 19) about the ad hoc permission granted to utility agencies, which had led to haphazard trenching of 685 km of city roads.

New guidelines
The new guidelines make barricading the area being dug compulsory and also putting up a board stating which company is carrying out the work and when will it be completed.

Officials said these fresh rules have been applied to all the trenching permissions given since October 1.

Speaking to mid-day, Mehta said, “Strict instructions have been given to all ward officials to ensure they get a plan from all utility agencies, so that there is minimal digging of roads. We want to avoid digging of the same stretch of road twice for such work. If any agency comes to do trenching on a particular stretch where work has already been done, then we are going to charge it a higher fee.”

Poor implementation
Civic activist Nikhil Desai said, “How many times such directives are given by every new commissioner? The problem lies in implementation. Also, MTNL and BEST are loss-making units, so, once their work is done, they don't bother with proper repairs as it costs them. While private utility companies are only bothered about finishing their projects on time, so they don't bother with reinstatement of roads.”

The conditions
>> Firms must put up board having their name and date of completion of the work.
>> Civic officials must ensure restructuring of roads, as per set standards, by the agencies.
>> The agencies must properly barricade the work area after starting trenching.
>> Ward officials should ask for a trenching plan from all utility agencies.

1,950 KM
Road network in the city

No of km from the total 685 dug up by telecom companies to provide 4G

No of kilometres of city roads dug up in the last two years

No of trenching permits given to 26 utility agencies in the last two years

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