Pothole pain

As Mumbai is in the throes of a late monsoon surge, the problem of craters on roads has reared its ugly head once again. In a now familiar story of woe, motorists and pedestrians — they suffer too — are once again forced to navigate potholes on several Mumbai roads. Many of these, without exaggeration are the size of a huge sink or swim craters. They play havoc with cars and have also resulted in considerable injuries to people’s limbs.

One can understand a sporadic pothole or two, in a city, which is swamped by traffic and heavy vehicles. Several roads are old and simply strain under the pressure of so many vehicles, which have increased manifold over the years.

Yet, even new roads have developed potholes barely a month after construction and these craters, in fact, pockmark the entire city. New flyovers and bridges have also developed cavities proving that construction has been shoddy from inception. Why can’t the authorities first ensure that quality begins at the first stage itself? One needs an approach that ensures that top class material, and good roads are built initially, instead of scurrying to repair damage barely a month later.

The total amount incurred in the pre-monsoon work and during monsoon repair work which earlier was Rs 40 crores has now increased to 56 crore. This is taxpayers’ money, so people have a special stake in what is happening to our roads. Citizens do not care or are simply weary about how the pothole issue has been politicised by various parties. They also scoff cynically at the inevitable blame game as civic bodies and authorities pass the buck. The names of several responsible bodies are simply meaningless acronyms for Mumbaikars.

What they want is simply a pothole-free road on which they can commute to work or home. The common man is fed up of corruption. Plug the loopholes, make quality at inception non-negotiable, choose contractors on merit and generally clear the rot in the system, and see potholes disappear from our roads. No magic or rocket science either. Only an iron will. 

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