Mumbai: Why dig up and repair perfectly good pavements? Activists ask BMC

Oct 05, 2017, 16:26 IST | Laxman Singh

All over the bylanes of Khar, BMC has dug up sidewalks that were in perfect condition to 'repair' them; while officials claim some stretches were broken, locals not satisfied with excuse

And once again, it all comes down to the civic body's poor management. Why else are "perfectly good" pavements in Khar West being dug up to be relaid? This is what activists and citizens are asking, questioning the repeated relaying of footpaths, which are in a good condition, in a very short span of time. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is undertaking repairs of 7th and 10th Roads in Khar West by removing paver blocks and reconstructing them with asphalt.

Pavement at 7th Road in Khar West
Pavement at 7th Road in Khar West

Activists have alleged that civic officials have removed paver blocks from the pavements lining these streets as well, despite the footpaths being in a good condition. Activist Zoru Bhathena has raised the issue with the H-West (Bandra, Khar) ward office, calling it "criminal destruction of perfectly good pavement(s)". He has even uploaded photographs on Facebook to show the 'before and after' state of the pavements.

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7th Road and 10th Road junction
7th Road and 10th Road junction 

He said, she said
Bhathena, in his complaint, said, "On Sunday, the pavement lining 10th Road near S V Road Junction and proceeding towards 7th Road was dug up. It was dug up and relaid in March 2016, and then again in May 2017. This is the third time. The pavement is in a reasonably good condition and certainly doesn't need to be repaired thrice in 18 months."

7th Road, outside SBI branch, Khar
7th Road, outside SBI branch, Khar

"The same thing happened on 7th Road, where the pavement was dug up on Monday. This is a criminal waste of public money and such unnecessary work must be stopped," he added, raising the issue with local corporator and former deputy mayor Alka Kerkar.

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Speaking to mid-day, Kerkar said, "I have told civic officials to relay only those pavements that need to be; for those that are in a good condition, I have told them to stop the work. Repairs are being carried out because of trenches, which had created uneven patches on that particular stretch. At several places, the paver blocks had popped out, making it particularly risky for senior citizens."

Real need indeed?
After Bhathena's complaints, some officials from the road department visited the spot on Wednesday and explained to him that the pavements would be replaced at no extra expenditure as the work was being done under the road repair contract. Bhathena said officials claim that pavements that appeared to be in a good conditon needed to be relaid as they had internal water damage.

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When mid-day contacted Assistant Municipal Commissioner of H-West ward Sharad Ughade, he said, "My staff visited the site and told me that though the stretch of footpaths is in a good condition, roads are in a bad shape, and at many places, paver blocks have sunk, creating uneven patches. We are relaying the road with asphalt and, along with that, repairing paver block-less patches on the footpaths. It's not a financial burden on the civic body."

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The attacker was shot dead by soldiers of the Sentinelle anti-terrorist force, Efe news agency reported.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb was on his way to the site, according to French media.

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Haseena Parkar photos

Locals fume

Raju Devnani, a resident of Khar West
'It is absolutely unnecessary to do repair work of the same pavement that is in a good condition repeatedly. In fact, the 10th Road is very narrow; hence, I had written to the local ward and corporator in May to widen the road, but nothing happened. They are not doing the things that are needed.'

Parimal Arora, Khar resident
'We have been facing this every few months… roads and pavements are dug up for no apparent reason and then relaid. There are several roads across the city that need immediate repairs, but nothing is done about those. I don't understand why BMC is wasting money and manpower on good stretches. There have been no complaints regarding those; there are no potholes either'.

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