One pothole, located on Girgaum’s SVP road, has had to be patched up five times in the past month alone, yet keeps coming back. A local has taken pictures of the pothole to keep a record of how it is filled time and again, but reappears with frustrating resilience. This newspaper yesterday carried a front-page report on the pothole that just won’t go away. The pictures attest to the number of times it has been patched up, only to fall apart again.
Go beyond the pictures and consider the fact that a local has taken the effort to record the number of times this pothole has frustrated the BMC. It is a barometer of just how angry and frustrated Mumbaikars are with the recurring problem of potholes in the city.
In fact, the pattern is so familiar that it seems almost laughable. Every monsoon, just a few days before the rains hit, civic authorities promise Mumbaikars that the pothole problem has been tackled. Inevitably, after a shower or two, the craters start showing up. Then the blame game begins, with each authority blaming the other for this or that road and the poor quality of repairs.
There are various excuses trotted out for the shoddy work and, strangely, the same contractors continue to be given the task of repairs. This is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money but very often, endangers citizens’ life and limb. Many bikers, especially, have lost lives because of potholes, although in some instances, the rider was not wearing a helmet. Pedestrians, always way down in the pecking order when it comes to the commuterscape, have suffered fractures as well. Auto rickshaws have proved to be particularly perilous modes of transport when going over pothole-ridden roads.
Let the authorities now make pothole repairs absolutely non-negotiable. There must not be any more excuses or attempts to sweep the issue under the carpet on some pretext or the other. Penalties for sub-standard work, and attention to roads, must be a priority for ward officers. Better late than never.