Over 2,000 potholes remain unrepaired across Mumbai, here's why...

Jul 07, 2013, 07:35 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

BMC ward engineers and road department officials fight over who should repair the numerous potholes on city roads, defeating the purpose of BMC's online pothole tracker system where citizens had uploaded photographs of hundreds of potholes. Over 40 per cent of the photographed potholes remain unattended, as no one is sure who is supposed to repair them

Weeks after citizens were asked to upload photographs of potholes near their homes or place of work, on the pothole tracker system started by the BMC on its official website, about 40 per cent of the photographed potholes are yet to be repaired. The reason? The ward engineers and the road department each believe the potholes come under the other’s jurisdiction. Sources in the BMC claimed that the confusion was because of miscommunication and poor work done by the road engineers. According to them, the engineers failed to upload the list of bad roads into the pothole tracking system and linking the data.

A grab from the online pothole tracker system.

The major confusion began when the potholes were lying unattended, as the road on which the pothole was reported was not uploaded on the system. The engineers thus refused to take up the work, citing it was not under their jurisdiction. The administration had asked all the road engineers to make a list of bad roads that needed urgent repairs by May 15 so that they could prioritise their work. But this was not done.

This list of the bad roads was in two parts -- one being minor roads below 30 feet, controlled by the road engineers of 24 wards and the major roads above 30 feet, controlled by the road department of BMC. Out of around 6,000 potholes that citizens have reported, only 3,200 have been repaired since the onset of monsoon.

More than 6,000 potholes have been reported by citizens. File Photo

Even the corporators have demanded strict action against the shoddy work carried out by the road engineers and the contractors. BMC’s Deputy mayor, Mohan Mithbaokar said, “Firstly, the contractors don’t do their work. The engineers have stated that if the name of the road on which the pothole lies is not uploaded on the system, it will not be attended to. Moreover, to add to the problems, the potholes that are not reported will not be repaired even if they are next to a pothole that has been reported, only because engineers don’t get the billsfor them.”

A senior officer from the road department on condition of anonymity, said, “These are initial problems that we are facing on assigning work to the contractors. Once the roads have been identified, the repair work will be allotted to the respective contractor.” D R Dixit, Chief Engineer, roads department said, “We will commence work on all the potholes that have been reported on the system.”

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