Even though the civic body has used Rs 150 crore out of the Rs 270 crore budgetary provision for maintenance and development of roads in the district, Puneites still have to endure bumpy rides on a daily basis.
The angry cry of citizens finally managed to wake up the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from its deep slumber, after which it asked the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) to prepare and submit guidelines for road construction.
The report on road development procedure and its maintenance, especially during monsoon, will be submitted to the civic body next month. Meanwhile, PMC Commissioner Mahesh Pathak yesterday assured citizens that all the roads would be repaired within 72 hours.
Funds not utilised
In the General Body (GB) meeting that was held yesterday, Pramod Nirbhavane, head of road department, revealed that despite Rs 270 crore allotted for roads last year, the department could utilisse only Rs 150 crore. When asked the reasonwhy Rs 120 core wasn’t utilised, he didn’t have any answer.
“Why do people have to go through the same ordeal every monsoon when there’s a third party advisory committee that’s available for the road construction work?” questioned NCP leader Subhash Jagtap, Likewise, social activist Vivek Velankar said, “Road department is not consulting with anybody before doing the road work. Besides, there’s nobody to keep a tab on them. More than the contractors, it’s the road department that’s responsible for the bad condition of roads.”
Velankar alleged that the road department never considers any advice from the third party. “Even STAC committee has been appointed, but the road department is not following experts’ guidelines.”
A stock of STAC
STAC committee was formed two-and-half-years ago, but was non-functional due to PMC’s apathy. The committee comprises 11 members, who are experts in the field of road engineering. “The chairman of the committee was not appointed and many posts were still vacant. It has been only six months that all the formalities were completed and committee started its work,” said Vinayak Kelkar, one of the committee members. He added that the committee has started its work on the report, and this month they have held four meetings with the road department.
While the corporators slammed the PMC administration for not doing the pre-monsoon work properly, the civic body put the entire blame on nature. Municipal commissioner said, “Every year the pre-monsoon work takes place between May 15 and mid June. However, the early rains this year disturbed the entire schedule, and hence the resurfacing of roads couldn’t happen on time.” The head of road department too had the same excuse. “Generally heavy rains start from July 1, but this year it came too early. Otherwise we could have completed all the work on time,” Nirbhavane said.