Mumbai: Shoddy repairs cause craters on 5 roads in Matunga

The roads were dug up for laying of utilities, or their maintenance, over four months back; several of the small craters have sunk deep and pose a risk to commuters

In an example of what shoddy reinstatement repair of dug-up roads can lead to, five roads in Matunga have sunk in places, causing depressions. HR Mahajani Road, R A Kidwai Road, Road no. 32 (near Khalsa college), Khareghat Road (Dadar) and Dr BR Ambedkar Road were all dug up for laying of utilities, or their maintenance, more than four months ago.

Also read: Potholes mar Sion-Panvel highway despite Rs 1.5-cr repairs

The Sewerage Operations Department had dug up H R Mahajani Road, part of which has sunk. Pics/Suresh K KThe Sewerage Operations Department had dug up H R Mahajani Road, part of which has sunk. Pics/Suresh K K

Shoddy patchwork was done later to cover them up and it has resulted in the small craters. Several of these craters have sunk deep and pose a risk to commuters this monsoon. Matunga’s Five Gardens is one of the iconic, green areas of the city.

The patch opposite Amulakh Amichand school at R A Kidwai Road has a depression due to a trench dug up by the Hydraulic Engineer’s department
The patch opposite Amulakh Amichand school at R A Kidwai Road has a depression due to a trench dug up by the Hydraulic Engineer’s department

Largely residential, this area has a large footfall due to colleges such as VJTI, ICT, Khalsa College etc., there. In 2014, a trench was dug by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Sewerage Operations (SO) department on Khareghat Road (opposite Dedhia House).

Part of Road No 32 at Khalsa College junction has also sunk
Part of Road No 32 at Khalsa College junction has also sunk

After the work was over, they reinstated the road, but it did not go back to its original condition. After two monsoons, a part of it has sunk deeper than the other parts, resulting in a crater. It gets filled with rainwater and causes problems to commuters.

The part of Khareghat Road that was dug up in 2014 has developed a craterThe part of Khareghat Road that was dug up in 2014 has developed a crater

The same department had dug a trench at H R Mahajani Road, opposite the VJTI College director’s bungalow. This road is in bad shape too. Similarly, on the junction near VJTI and Khalsa College, a private company dug up a trench a few months ago and the reinstatement caused the road to sink.

A section of Dr Ambedkar Road which has sunk near the Ruia College junction
A section of Dr Ambedkar Road which has sunk near the Ruia College junction

The condition of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road is worse. The patch opposite Amulakh Amichand school there has sunk due to a trench dug up by the Hydraulic Engineer’s department a few months ago. A patch of road outside Ruia College at Tulpule Chowk on the south bound side of Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, that was dug up four months back, has also sunk.

Activist wrote to commissioner
Local activist Nikhil Desai has pursued the matter with Deputy Municipal Commissioner (zone II) Anand Vagralkar and has also written to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on June 30.

“The BMC does not seem to bother about these complaints since they are trivial to them. I have been pursuing this matter for so long now, whereas it is only a day’s job to clear the roads. Are they waiting for these roads to sink deeper? How long are we going to keep re-constructing our roads?” Desai asked.

BMC speak
Executive Engineer of F/North ward, Prakash Mhatre said, “There is not much the ward office can do in this matter since the roads were dug up by the concerned departments. I have written to them in the past since it is their, and the contractor’s responsibility, to repair it. But if Desai can pinpoint the exact locations, I’ll try to follow up.”

Also read: Mumbai corporators' answer to bad roads: Lock up engineers for 2 hours

But when asked to explain the delay, Mhatre said that the problem is that the work is too trivial. So even if the department asks the contractor to repair the patches, it is economically not feasible for them. They wait for more work in the area and then undertake it together. Ergo, citizens have to wait for multiple potholes in their area before a contractor repairs them.

DMC Vagralkar had convened a meeting of all departments in his zone last month. Desai had also written to him in the matter several times, latest being June 30. But when asked about this on Friday, Vagralkar said, “I will look into it.”

'Right to good roads'
A resident also wrote to Ajoy Mehta about the matter. ‘The BMC’s Roads department undertook trench work at this location a few months ago to install new storm water drains, and after the work was over, they reinstated the road so poorly that it has sunk.

Nikhil Desai
Nikhil Desai

Repeated complaints were made to the junior engineer, sub-engineer, assistant engineer and executive engineer of F/North ward. Are all of you so incompetent that you cannot take care of such a simple complaint?

It is our fundamental right to have good roads,’ wrote local activist Nikhil Desai, in the letter to the BMC. He has been pursuing this matter since last year.

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