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Mumbai: Pothole repairs to continue at night

High Court permitted the BMC to carry out repairs at night, while instructing the civic body to spend more if needed, but end the pothole menace for good

The Bombay High Court pulled up the BMC for the shoddy state of roads and directed the civic body to fix the pothole problem once and for all, even if it means spending more money or working late into the night.

Pothole
The HC asked the BMC to figure out why the roads have been washed away in just a few spells of rain. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

“You’re carrying out repair works in a very ad hoc manner; this comes through in the media reports. We think if you spend more money on roads in the larger public interest, but use good material and monitor the work properly, the problem will be solved forever. Don’t use substandard material and keep facing the same problem,” said Justice Shantanu Kemkar, who, along with Justice Makarand Karnik, was hearing a 2013 suo motu petition regarding bad roads. With the pothole menace recurring every year, in the past hearing, the HC had gone to the extent of telling the civic body that it would have to pay compensation to those who meet with accidents due to potholes.

The bench also asked the traffic police to permit the civic body to carry out repairs at night, provided they follow the noise pollution rules. BMC has been directed to use sound barriers whenever it conducts night repairs. The High Court has scheduled the next hearing for July 15.

Technical assistance
While the BMC said that it was bringing in some new technology from Australia to solve the problem, the HC also told the corporation to take guidance from experts at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and the Indian Road Congress, both of which carry out research and development on roads. “Such bodies can give you lots of suggestions. The expert body of BMC that is meeting on July 13 should also discuss to how the roads were washed away in just two to three spells of rain,” said Justice Kemkar.

App-ropriate action
Among the issues that came up was a problem with the corporation’s MCGM 24x7 app, which citizens can use to complain about potholes.

Senior counsel Jamshed Mistry, who has been appointed amicus curiae (friend of court), said, “The MCGM 24x7 app that was started by the civic body for complaints about potholes had some problems, and complainants were unable to load pictures on the app.”

However, BMC counsel Anil Sakhare told the bench that the app was working perfectly and perhaps it was the complainant’s Internet connection that had a problem.

Justice Kemkar then asked the civic body to make sure that once a complainant uploads pictures of potholes, the civic body should revert with a picture of the same location once the pothole is filled.

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