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Mumbaikars, be prepared for a pothole-filled murky ride this monsoon

In spite of allocating a whopping Rs 3,000 crore in the 2013-2014 budget to repair 967 roads, the BMC has completed work on just 132 so far. After we take Mayor Sunil Prabhu to inspect the sites, he warns contractors to finish repairs or pay penalty

Taking cognizance of the article published in mid-day on May 10 (Concrete roads, but no concrete deadlines), which highlighted the plight of Mumbaikars thanks to pothole-ridden and dug-up roads across the city, on Friday night, Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu visited various sites and instructed contractors to finish the work before May 31. However, whether the repair work will be completed before the deadline or not remains to be seen.

Also read: Mumbai's eastern suburbs face a rough ride this monsoon

Mayor Sunil Prabhu checks bad roads at Bhulabhai Desai Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Mayor Sunil Prabhu checks bad roads at Bhulabhai Desai Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Prabhu started his inspection at 9.30 pm on Friday from Nariman Point and visited roads in Southern, Eastern and Western suburbs till 1.30 am. Senior civic officials including the administration team, the Standing Committee and Chief Executive Engineers, also accompanied him.

Location 1: South Mumbai
Name of the road: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road
Landmark: Opposite Trident Hotel
Time: 9.30 pm
Contractor’s comment: “The 180-metre stretch from Nariman Point is being concretised. It will be completed by May 25.”
Mayor speak: “In case the contractor fails to construct the stretch before the given deadline then he will have to pay the penalty.”

Also read: Repair of Mumbai's roads and potholes will be done by May 20, BMC tells HC

Location 2: South Mumbai
Name of the road: Bhulabhai Desai Road
Landmark: Near Breach Candy Hospital
Time: 10 pm
Contractor’s comment: “The three km-long road is being concretised. Work on half of the stretch is expected to finish by May 25. The remaining work will be finished after monsoon.”
When asked about the delay in the process, the BMC’s chief executive engineer said, “The contractor was running two months behind schedule as he couldn’t seek permission for the concretisation. Seventy per cent of the work will be completed before monsoon, if not then the contractor will have to face a heavy penalty of Rs 8 lakh.”

Also read: Stuck in a hole - The sorry state of Mumbai's roads

Location 3: Eastern suburbs
Name of the road: VN Purav Marg, Chembur
Time: 10.50 pm
Contractor’s comment: “The 1.5 km-long road’s concretisation started in March. Seven hundred metres will be completed by May 25 and the remaining 800 metres will be completed after monsoon.”
Mayor speak: “Before the monsoons, we will ensure that traffic flows smoothly on roads. In case people report potholes, the contractors will have to pay a penalty.”

Also read: BMC sets aside Rs 7,774 crore for better roads in Mumbai

Location 4: Eastern suburbs
Name of the road: Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli
Time: 11.30 pm
Official speak: Executive Engineer Vijay Nighot said, “The road is expected to be completed by May 31.”

Location 5: Western suburbs
Name of the road: Hindu Friends Society
Landmark: Near Jogeshwari Railway station
Timing: 12 pm
Contractor’s comment: “Out of the 1,040 metre-long road, which is being concretised, 650 metres is expected to be completed before the monsoon.”
Chief Engineer, Ashok Pawar said, “We will try and complete the construction of all the projects taken in hand before the monsoon. In case there are any pothole-related problems, the contractor will deal with them.”

These roads should be less taken

After allocating Rs 3,000 crore in the 2013-2014 budget to repair 967 roads, the BMC has completed work on just 132 roads before monsoon

Brace yourself for a murky, bumpy ride on Mumbai’s streets this monsoon, for the potholes you’ve been braving all these months will persist and many roads will remain dug up.

Currently, at least 328 roads across Mumbai are being paved with concrete and asphalt, 10 roads are under construction by the MMRDA for the monorail and metro rail and around 400 roads are undergoing reinstatement and resurfacing work after their underground utilities have been fixed.

Repair work being carried out on the road opposite Nirmal Lifestyle mall, at LBS Marg, Mulund West. Pic/Prashant Waydande
Repair work being carried out on the road opposite Nirmal Lifestyle mall, at LBS Marg, Mulund West. Pic/Prashant Waydande

In 2013-2014 budget, the BMC had allocated R3,000 crore to construct and/or repair 967 roads. Out of these, work on 132 roads stands completed and about 505 roads will be constructed after the monsoon. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given contracts of a whopping R3,000 crore to contractors.

The BMC has decided that all major works, such as the construction of major and minor roads, will be done by the Roads Department. Their maintenance — which includes fixing potholes and trenches — will be the responsibility of the concerned wards.

Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “More than 300 roads are under construction and 500 roads will be dug after the rains. We are taking care of this. There will be no flooding during the rains. The resurfacing work of most roads, which earlier underwent trenching, is in progress, too. It will be completed by this monsoon.”

However, a senior civic official, on the condition of anonymity, revealed the real reason behind such inordinate delay. “There have been too many issues regarding the repairs of roads, as contractors didn’t come forward and we had to re-tender contracts. We fought court cases, too, which led to further delay. Now, 328 roads to be had to be dug up in the city,” he admitted.

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