Did you know? BMC pours Rs 12,000 of your money into each pothole

Aug 15, 2014, 06:45 IST | Laxman Singh

According to contractors, the BMC spends Rs 7,000-12,000 to construct a sq m of asphalt/concrete road, whereas repairing a pothole is a far more expensive affair

Defying all logic, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is spending more money on filling potholes temporarily in the city, even though it costs almost half the amount to build a road of the same size – if not bigger. Even if the civic body constructs a cement road, of the best quality, it will still cost them less.

Also read: This is how BMC fools Mumbai on pothole repairs

According to the BMC’s pothole tracking system, the civic body has completed repairs on 5,541 potholes in the city. Sources in the civic body told this paper that of the Rs 28 crore allotted for repairing roads this year, the allotted contractors have spent nearly Rs 7 crore, starting from June.

The amount BMC is spending on temporary repairs is almost twice the amount required to make a new road
The amount BMC is spending on temporary repairs is almost twice the amount required to make a new road

A simple calculation tells us that the amount spent on repairing a pothole – that, too, temporarily is around Rs 12,600. However, it would’ve cost around R8,000 to make a new patch of road of the same size and nature asphalt, in most cases. It is befuddling, then, why the civic body is wasting the taxpayers’ money by spending more for.

New is cheaper
A contractor who has worked on several pothole repair projects told mid-day, “A square metre of construction of a cement concrete (CC) road costs R10,000 to R12,000. It costs R7,000 to R8,000 to make a new asphalt road.

mid-day’s August 7 report on how BMC’s contractors were using shabby, unscientific methods to repair roads
mid-day’s August 7 report on how BMC’s contractors were using shabby, unscientific methods to repair roads

Here, we are filling potholes, which are hardly as large as 1 sq mt. A new CC road has a guarantee of lasting for 10 years and an asphalt one lasts at least five years, but a filled pothole doesn’t even have a day’s assurance of staying that way.”

Till Thursday, the civic website showed there are 7,093 potholes on roads under their jurisdiction 5,541 of these were shown to be repaired. This year, contracts were awarded at the ward level for repairing the potholes.

Sources said contractors have quoted a price 30 per cent higher than the base price of the tender; the BMC has accepted these prices and has awarded the contracts for road repairs.

This paper has reported on the shabby condition of roads all over the city, and how BMC’s contractors were ‘filling’ them by just tapping the mixture into the hole using their feet. Repair work on the 900 roads under the BMC had be-gun before monsoon and yet, there was damage due to rains.

“This entire thing is being done to benefit the contractors. Even though potholes are reappearing after they have been repaired, the civic body is not willing to take action against these errant contractors. How can the repairing cost be this high?” asked I C Sisodia, a retired vigilance officer in the BMC.

N V Merani, a road expert and former chairman of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee, which advises the BMC on roads, added, “There is a need for proper planning of roads in the city. Potholes are not even repaired properly and bad quality of material is used. The contractors are the ones who profit from this, along with a few corrupt officials.”

BMC speak
When asked about the exorbitant expenditure on temporary repairs, S V R Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We have not sanctioned any amount to the contractors yet. It will be done once they raise bills in September. I will have to check how much has been spent and will be able to comment then.”

He added, “This year, the budgetary provision for potholes has been reduced to Rs 28 crore, as compared to last year’s Rs 58 crore. Monsoon is almost over; if Rs 7 crore was spent, it’s not a big amount.” Srinivas further added that since pre-monsoon work on roads had been done, “very few potholes had appeared on roads”.

Rs 7 crore
Money spent on repairs (June-Aug '14)

Total number of potholes in the city

Number of potholes repaired so far

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