Mumbai: After Bandra residents rage over uneven roads, BMC reopens repair shop

Jun 01, 2018, 11:43 IST | Laxman Singh

BMC's road department did repairs, as part of pre-monsoon work, at St Andrews Road and Mehboob Studio Junction early this month, and yet, fumed residents, the stretches remained pathetic

BMC workers relay the Bandra road after complaints of a shoddy job
BMC workers relay the Bandra road after complaints of a shoddy job

Monsoon is around the corner, and Bandra residents are worried about the "shoddy" roads in their area. BMC's road department did repairs, as part of pre-monsoon work, at St Andrews Road and Mehboob Studio Junction early this month, and yet, fumed residents, the stretches remained pathetic. Following the outcry, BMC started damage control on Wednesday night.

Local corporator Asif Zakaria had written to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and chief engineer of the road department, demanding an inquiry to check the quality of repair work done.

The civic body started re-laying St Andrews Road in Bandra after residents' complaints
The civic body started re-laying St Andrews Road in Bandra after residents' complaints

Bumps ahead
A resident and ALM member of St Andrews Road Residents Association, John Soares, told mid-day, "Earlier, this road was made of paver blocks; those were removed a couple of years back when the sewerage line below was replaced. When the contractor started the repairs, we observed that there wasn't enough machinery, there were only a handful of labourers and even they lacked the experience for the work. One day, the contractor suddenly relaid the road with asphalt, finishing the work in a hurried and haphazard manner, and ultimately, doing a shoddy job of it.

"In monsoon, uneven stretches are the first to develop potholes. The work should have been monitored by the vigilance department; it was apparent that the contractor was not qualified. So, we wrote to the BMC about it."

Zakaria pointed out similar shoddy repairs carried out on Besant Road in Santacruz and Sherly Rajan Road in Bandra West by the same contractor. Zakaria added, "The repair and resurfacing of St Andrews Road was started under priority as part of pre-monsoon preparation, as the condition of the road was very bad. But even now, after all the work, it's still bad - incomplete in a few spots, uneven, water tables loosely fitted, various utility and sewerage chambers unevenly higher than the road level, causing severe hardship to motorists.

"Residents have complained that the condition will further deteriorate once rains start. Also, the work at Mehboob Junction is happening at a snail's pace."

Authorities pulled up
In his letter (dated May 21), Zakaria wrote that the ongoing works are a good example of how the contractors, despite stringent guidelines and strict action initiated, are continuing to do repairs in the most sub-standard manner.

Zakaria on Wednesday also raised the issue in the Standing Committee meeting, after which chief engineer of road department, Vinod Chithore, assured that action would be taken against the contractor if shoddy work was found.

"We will check the road again and see. If it is not as per standard, the work will be redone," added Chithore. On Wednesday night, the BMC started redoing the surface of St Andrews Road.

Contractor penalised
Assistant Municipal Commissioner of H-West ward (Bandra, Santacruz) Sharad Ughade said, "After getting complaints, I visited the site; the contractor has indeed done a very poor job. From the work, it's apparent that he does not have experience of road repair work. We have imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on him and sent two show-cause notices. Considering monsoon, we are not terminating his contract and have asked him to redo the stretch and make it motorable within two days; or else, action will be initiated."

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