Jetpatcher needs repairs before filling Mumbai's pothole

Jul 30, 2013, 12:12 IST | Shailesh Bhatia

Deployed to repair a pothole in Vile Parle yesterday, the expensive machine sitting idle for years faced glitches before even being put to use, and had to be repaired at the spot before it could do its job

Jetpatchers have long been touted as the answer to the city’s pothole problem but they seem to be facing some problems of their own. Last morning, the machine encountered a technical glitch minutes after it was revved up for use.

Pothole machine Jetpatcher, Mumbai

Only on Friday, MiD DAY had reported that four Jetpatchers -- state-of-the-art pothole-filling machines imported from New Zealand — had been lying unused, with the standing committee of the BMC sitting on the proposal for the use of the machines.

The pothole is first cleaned using compressed air.

Perhaps trying to prove a point, the BMC sprung into action and dispatched a Jetpatcher to patch up a four feet wide pothole on a road near ML Dahanukar College in Vile Parle yesterday. Much to its embarrassment, glitches cropped up immediately.

The pit is then filled with a ready mix of hot rolled asphalt and bitumen emulsion

It required repairs at the site, causing a delay in the road work. Later in the evening, the Jetpatcher was still seen parked on the street, awaiting its next stint on the roads.

According to sources, another machine that had been sent to Nagpur is now being recalled, a fact confirmed by Rahul Shewale, BMC standing committee chairman: “Yes, we have asked for the Jetpatchers to resume the repair work on Mumbai roads.”

The machines which are capable of running for 24 hours at a time and completing work on 80-100 sq m in a single day have not been utilised to their full capacity since they were acquired years ago.

The patched up area is evened out manually and then levelled with the road surface with the help of a machine. Pics/Rane Ashish

The machines have been lying unused in an industrial unit. “For reasons unknown to me, our machines were lying idle for over 15 days now and are parked in the compound of Ghanshyam Industrial Estate, in Veera Desai Road, Andheri (West). Prior to this, we did some work in the northern suburbs of Mumbai, especially in Kandivli and other areas, but then work came to a sudden halt. Just last night, we got an order to report in Vile Parle East, and patch up operations on the pothole,” said a supervisor at the spot.

A ready mix of hot rolled asphalt and bitumen emulsion is used for road repair at the site. “It’s a wonderful machine which can be operated by just four people, including the driver, a site supervisor and two helpers to fill a medium-size pothole in less than half an hour.”

The other side
A Tanna, managing director, Linnhoff India Pvt Ltd, the distributors for the machines, was out of station. The firm’s engineer Abhijit Pathe stated that he would have to look into the details before responding.

BMC speaks
SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner in charge of the roads department, admitted that the Jetpatchers have not been used to their full potential since the time they were bought, defeating the purpose of their purchase. “From what I know, the machines were not used for a long time and had developed technical snags. Recently, we approved their repairs and in the near future we will ensure that they are utilised to their full potential, and can rid the city of the pothole menace,” said Srinivas. 

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