After BMC spent Rs 25 lakh of its annual budget on Android-based Samsung Galaxy mobiles for its corporators so they may upload pictures of pits on the road on its Rs 65 lakh pothole tracking software, only a handful are using the programme.
Not more than six of the 230 corporators have made use of the app, which allows citizens as well to put up images of the potholes they come across, so they may be repaired. The app also tracks the status of repair of a recorded pothole, and once the pits are levelled, the images are removed. Between them, they recorded some 60 potholes on the city’s heavily-dented roads.
A few of the councillors who haven’t uploaded the photos say they are doing it through personal mobile numbers, and not the ones the BMC gave them along with the Android phones in the past months -- the software is accessible only on Android phones.
Many others trashed the software, pronouncing it useless and claiming they “do not believe in the system”.
BMC standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, the mastermind behind the idea, had told MiD DAY earlier that the application would make it easier for councillors to upload photos of potholes, garbage heaps, open drains and other such blots on civic infrastructure on the website.
While he’s yet to make a single upload, he promised to get the others to do the job. “I will send a letter to all corporators to upload pothole pictures on the system. If they need training, we will arrange for it,” Shewale said.
MiD DAY asks the corporators what it is that is keeping them from doing the job. Here’s what they have to say:
The status of potholes reported on the BMC’s tracking system since June 2013:
Assigned to contractor for repair: 24,048
Amount spent on the smart phones that were distributed to corporators
Total number of potholes recorded on the tracking system since June 2013
Rs 250 cr
Amount spent by BMC on pothole repairs in the past five years
Rs 57 cr
Provision made to fix potholes during this monsoon alone
Number of potholes that the BMC is yet to fill of 25,603
We follow the system, and the pictures were uploaded on the website. The potholes are looked after and will be followed and maintained further
Sneha Zagade, Congress, Photos uploaded: 1
The potholes about which I had reported are being repaired. I am keeping an eye on their condition and will make updates if I find anything new.
Rajan Padhye, Shiv Sena, Photos uploaded: 1
I am sure that the potholes have been repaired but the quality of work is poor and are going back to the same state again.
Asif Zakaria, Congress, Photos uploaded: 9
People who are interested in serving citizens upload pictures to bring the state of roads to the notice of authorities, but others who aren’t aware of the system and not interested do not follow it. I did my job, there is nothing great about it.
Ramakant Rahate, Shiv Sena, Photos uploaded: 6
I don’t know the current situation but I am aware that the potholes that I had reported were taken care of.
Noorjahan Shaikh, Samajwadi Party, Photos uploaded: 25
We have followed the system as per the BMC’s instructions, but it is sad that only the potholes uploaded in the pictures have been repaired. If there were any small pits close to these, they have been ignored by the BMC
Ganesh Sanap, Shiv Sena, Photos uploaded: 28
Corporators who did not record a single pothole on the system say:
70% of potholes in my constituency have been filled so there was no need for me to upload pictures on the system. Whenever I noticed any potholes, I would immediately bring it to the notice of the engineers.
Rahul Shewale, Standing Committee Chairman
Instead of this pothole tracking system, the BMC should have come up with a permanent solution for better roads. Prevention is better than cure.
Vinod Shelar, BJP
Last year, I had uploaded the picture on the system but received no response from the administration and the engineers. I am of the opinion that the system is a failure, so there is no point in uploading photographs. Also, I do not use the number given by BMC.
Yashodhar Phanse, Leader of House in BMC
The site usually shows errors and it is difficult for us to upload pictures. When the images are not uploaded from my BMC-allotted number, I make sure the workers take care of the job.
Jyoti Alavani, Independent
I don’t believe in this system. Moreover, potholes were under the defect liability period so why should we report them? Don’t the road engineers understand their duty? I have not uploaded any pictures as I am against the system.
Dilip Patel, BJP group leader
It is not at all possible for us to use the number given to us by the BMC after one-and-half-years of being elected. I do use the Android phone but with another number and this is well-known in my constituency, and I have uploaded potholes from those numbers.
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader
I have uploaded more than 80 pothole pictures on the system from my personal number as I do not use the number given by the BMC.
Pravin Chheda, Congress