'There is no quality check on paver blocks'
In an interview with MiD DAY, former principal secretary of the Public Works Department and former BMC chairman N V Merani explains why the city's paved roads are such a nightmare
Q What was the intention behind introducing paver blocks in the city?
Paver blocks were used to lay private building compounds. The BMC introduced it to be used at junctions or signals where cement concretisation is not possible. It can be laid on narrow lanes too.
Q Why are roads paved with these blocks not in a good condition?
To maintain paver blocks, basic care should be taken – proper construction, quality check and supervision of the work.
Q What do you feel about the use of paver blocks on long stretches of road?
No. Pavers should not be used on long stretches – they are meant for junctions and narrow roads. They should be used only on emergency basis, when cement concretization or asphalting is not possible. We don’t allow cement concrete on all roads – pavers can be used on narrow lanes and cement concrete should be reserved for major roads.
Q How can the quality of pavers be maintained? What do you suggest?
There is no quality check. I have told the former BMC additional commissioners that high quality paver blocks should used, which have ISI approval. But there are very few of them around. Supervision should be there during the layer-by-layer procedure, to check on thickness. I have made these suggestions earlier to the BMC.
Q Is placing paver blocks costlier than asphalting roads?
Yes, it is costlier than asphalting a road. Paved roads are less expensive than cement concrete roads.
Q Do you think that there is a nexus between the corporators and contractors?
Yes. On many occasions, we had raised objections over the condition of the road and asked why paver blocks are put on them. The official reply was always that the corporator suggested it. But we don’t allow them to be part of any of the BMC contracts.
Q Do you feel that corporators are involved in the contracts involving use of paver blocks?
What does that mean?
Q Could it be the case that corporators have partnership in the contractors’ firms, or that they may be sleeping partners?
It may be possible. You never know.