Mumbai: In Bandra West, banned paver blocks are back outside the railway station

Updated: Aug 06, 2018, 14:26 IST | Laxman Singh

Even though Mumbai saw very little rain recently, BMC ramrods banned substance to pave a whole stretch on Bandra West, saying it will replace it in October

Mumbai: In Bandra West, banned paver blocks are back outside the railway station
Widening the road outside Bandra station is part of a greater beautification plan that will kick off in October. Pics/Shadab Khan

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to have a mental block when it comes to paver blocks and why they were banned in the first place. Two years after civic officials swore never to use the dangerous tiles again, they are back outside the railway station in Bandra West. Bizarrely, after spending lakhs on the blocks, the authorities intend to uproot them again in just a couple of months.

This paper has time and again reported on how the use of paver blocks resulted in crumbling roads, massive traffic jams and fatal accidents. Two years ago, the BMC banned the use of these tiles for road construction and repair work, after finding that they were ineffective and caused road conditions to get even worse. Now, the civic body is putting its neck on the block by using the notorious tiles yet again to widen the Bandra station, which connects to S V Road. The project is part of a greater plan for the beautification and decongestion of the station road, estimated to cost R93 lakh. Under this plan, the civic body has already demolished several structures that were encroaching on the road, leading to traffic snarls outside the station.

The paver blocks have been used right along the bus stop, where buses are sure to dislodge the tiles in weeks
The paver blocks have been used right along the bus stop, where buses are sure to dislodge the tiles in weeks

Residents shocked
On Friday, a resident of Bandra West was shocked to see that the now clear stretch was being covered with paver blocks. "Paver blocks have been banned for roadwork due to their poor quality, but I was shocked to see them laid on the entire stretch here," said the local. As the name suggests, paver blocks are only meant to be used for pavements, as they cannot handle the pressure of vehicular traffic. But Bandra West sees a high footfall of about three lakh passengers daily, especially during the Mount Mary and Ganpati festivals. Vehicular traffic is even heavier. "This road witnesses heavy traffic and heavy vehicles like BEST buses, which pass this way on their way to the bus depot. Paver blocks will not survive this much pressure and they will dislodge quickly," predicted the resident.

This is not the first time the civic body has tried to bring the notorious paver blocks back either. Recently, the Corporation was criticised for using the tiles at many locations for pothole repairs. In December 2017, civic officials also proposed to spend R11 crore on repairing roads with paver blocks. However, the proposal was turned down by the civic Standing Committee.

'Temporary measure'
The BMC claimed that paver blocks are merely a temporary solution outside Bandra station. "Since this area is now encroachment free, we wanted to open it to vehicles, rather than keeping it closed. Currently, due to monsoon we can't do any asphalt work, so this is a temporary arrangement for the monsoon," said Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner for the H-West ward (Bandra, Khar).

The real question is why the civic body is wasting precious time and money with the paver blocks when they intend to remove them in just a couple of months anyway. "From October 1, the road department will take up reconstruction of this stretch with asphalt, to widen the road properly," confirmed Ughade. The roadwork will kick off along with the rest of the beautification work, which includes making new footpaths there as well. "The remodelling of the traffic plan will ease traffic jams at Bandra station," Ughade added.

Rs 11 cr
Cost of paver block proposal rejected last year

Rs 93 lakh
Total beautification cost for Bandra station

The grand plan
The beautification plan of Bandra station is estimated to cost around R93 lakh. Apart from road widening and repairs, it includes installation of grills, lamp posts, road markings, dividers and street furniture. It will also feature freshly laid pavements, a seating area for senior citizens, a waiting area for pedestrians and a small garden outside the station.

Also read: Fed up, Vasai residents repair 1.8 km of potholed roads

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