Paver block menace: MNS vows to take action against errant BMC contractors

Published: 16 November, 2013 14:18 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar and Chetna Sadadekar |

As part of our campaign against the menace of paver blockson the city's roads, MiD DAY spoke to Sandeep Deshpande, MNS group leader in the BMC, to find out how the party intends to address the problem.

The MNS had recently locked BMC employees in their offices for not fixing potholes and had lashed out against contractors for poorly repaired roads. In an interview with this paper, Deshpande spoke about the party’s plans to deal with errant contractors.

Have you read MiD DAY’s campaign on bad roads with paver blocks and the shoddy work of the corporation and contractors?
Yes. I need to congratulate MiD DAY on its efforts. It needs to continue this work and expose many such roads, as such work needs to be criticized. I will also help as a corporator to get the roads done soon.

As a member of a political party known to take a strong stance against bad roads, have badly paved roads bothered you more as a citizen or as an elected representative?
Bad roads in general upset me. In the past, even when I was not an elected representative of the BMC, I still took up repairs of bad roads seriously, and many contractors have had to bear the brunt of my anger.

Being an active corporator, have you ever taken up the issue of broken paver blocks on roads and their poor quality with the higher authorities?
Paver block roads should be banned, and only concretised cement (CC) or asphalt roads should be made. This is not just something that I am saying -- the road experts believe this and the STAC (Standing Technical Advisory Committee, on roads) guidelines also mention this. I have brought this to the notice of the commissioners, and as per my knowledge, SVR Srinivas has also asked that paver blocks be avoided.

How much does the BMC spend annually to place the blocks on the city’s roads?

There is no such specific amount to be spent on paver blocks -- there are no budgetary provisions for doing so, which is the case for CC and asphalt roads.

How are contracts for paver blocks allotted?
No separate contracts are allotted to the contractors and no specific tender process exists. There are no norms that encourage the installation of paver blocks, and the BMC should stop using the blocks to fill bad patches on concrete and asphalt roads.

How is it that you get any work done, given that there is so much confusion over which authority maintains these roads?
There are issues with the working of the BMC, and there is no proper authority to keep a check on the use of paver blocks and their maintenance. I have to call up the ward office where I am posted, and inform the officials that I need to get in touch with the roads
department. If this is what a corporator has to do, what will the common man do?

Do you think pavers should be put around utilities? Even the STAC claims that it is okay to have pavers around utility stretches.
No. I don’t think pavers are a good option anywhere. The administration should come up with better options and techniques, as the paver blocks are usually of poor quality and get dislodged within a month or two.

Do you think a third party audit is done on the quality of paver blocks used to build the roads?
BMC has a third party to audit the quality of the materials used in constructing CC and asphalt roads, but no quality-control on paver blocks used for roads and footpaths. They should have this too.

Dadar is an important area. If you claim to have been involved in exposing wrongdoings, why is it that there are so many badly paved roads in your area?
This is not the case. Whenever bad roads are brought to my notice, I make sure they are repaired at the earliest and do not cause inconvenience to commuters.

What is it that you, as BMC group leader of MNS, plan to do to decrease or ban the use of paver blocks on roads? How would you ensure that the citizens’ commute is hassle-free?
The MNS will be actively involved in getting the roads repaired and if this is not done, the contractors will be taught a lesson in typical MNS style. 

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