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The big holes in BMC’s pothole-filling claim

Updated on: 31 August,2022 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve , Prajakta Kasale | ,

Civic body claims it has filled up more than 28,000 craters in the city in the last 12 days. Here is the truth

The big holes in BMC’s pothole-filling claim

Paver blocks have become loose on Kajupada Road at Jarimari in Kurla. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi (right) An uneven stretch on SV Road at Jogeshwari West on Tuesday. Pic/Anurag Ahire

Life will be less messy during Ganeshotsav, which starts today, BMC had promised with its claim of having filled over 28,000 potholes. But relief from bumpy and risky rides is unlikely anytime soon, mid-day has found. This newspaper picked half a dozen key roads to verify the civic body’s claims and discovered that many stretches on these thoroughfares are still dotted with craters. Also, shoddily filled potholes have created uneven spots on roads. In the 12 days preceding the Ganpati festival, the corporation said it went into overdrive to fix thousands of potholes across the city.

In the 12 days preceding the Ganpati festival, the corporation said it went into an overdrive to fix thousands of potholes across the city. It has also promised pothole-free roads in the city within two years. Activists and residents shared with mid-day the condition of Khar Market Road in Khar West, the arterial SV Road between Andheri and Jogeshwari at the end of Andheri flyover, Bandra’s Turner Road, Halav Bridge to New Mill Road at Kurla West, and the Pant Nagar Post Office Road at Ghatkopar.

These road stretches need urgent fixes as they slow down traffic creating jams and pose dangers to two-wheeler riders. Motorists and locals said they need better roads throughout the year for smooth rides and less travel time and it should not be limited to only festivals. Activists said filled potholes deteriorate quickly. Mushtaq Ansari, a member of citizen group Pothole Warriors, said he receives several messages every day about new potholes and fixed ones losing out the filling material in a day or two.

With water on roads dried up, this spot on SV Road at Jogeshwari West may not appear alarming, but two-wheeler riders said it’s too uneven and can cause a mishap. Pic/Anurag Ahire
With water on roads dried up, this spot on SV Road at Jogeshwari West may not appear alarming, but two-wheeler riders said it’s too uneven and can cause a mishap. Pic/Anurag Ahire

Ahead of the Ganesh festival, the BMC’s Rs 7-crore contract to fill potholes wasn’t successful. The civic body then turned to its old contractors and paid them extra to repair the road pits. Since last week, civic officials said, rapid hardening concrete is also being used to fill potholes, with priority being given to idol immersion routes. But it’s still a long way for the BMC’s pothole-filling teams to finish the job.

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“Several stretches on S V Road, from Jogeshwari to Andheri, Bandra West are pothole-ridden. Even Khar Market, Bandra 15th Road behind KFC mall, Palinaka junction, Turner Road in H west ward and Andheri Linking road, Goregaon Link road, Malad Marve Road, Powai JVLR have many stretches with potholes. At many places, the surface has become uneven after potholes were filled,” said Ansari.

“The Oshiwara section of the Link Road and RTO junction in Andheri have many potholes and need urgent attention. Although several potholes have been repaired, BMC has used paver blocks and tar which may not last the entire term of the Ganpati festival. Before every immersion day, road conditions will need to be checked to ensure incident-free adieu,” said Dhaval Shah from Lokhandwala. A large number of people are out shopping and visiting pandals during the festival and bad roads worsens the situation, he said.

“Every year it is ‘tarikh pe tarikh’ for pothole filling. The BMC has claimed that they repaired potholes in the city, but citizens are not happy with its claim. I had written a complaint about the bad condition of roads in L ward comprising Kurla and Sakinaka. But even after complaints, these roads have not been repaired. Officials say they will fix it before Ganesh idol immersion but I am sure they won’t manage to do it,” said Anil Galgali, an activist.

Citizens vent ire

Not just activists, citizens were unsparing in their criticism of the BMC. Kurla resident Padamakar Habib, 67, said he can’t walk on the road due to potholes. “BMC assures us of pothole-free roads every year, but the situation is different. In Kurla, there is not a single road without potholes. The roads are not only risky for senior citizens like me but also for all.”

Mohammad Ahmad, 64, of Jogeshwari West, said potholes have affected his health. “I use S V Road and mostly travel by autos. But it feels like I’m on a boat. As there are so many potholes on this road, my back pain has increased. But I don’t have a choice as I need to travel for my work,” he said. 

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Parel’s Akshay Panchal said, “I commute to Andheri, Sakinaka and Navi Mumbai for my work. The condition of roads is pathetic. It takes almost 2 hours to reach Sakinaka due to bad roads and traffic jams. Otherwise, the distance can be covered in 40 minutes. There is also serious concern of accidents.”

Sachin Manjrekar, who lives at Pantnagar, Ghatkopar, said, “Sant Dnyaneshwar Marg is one of the busiest roads of Pantnagar. Due to the ongoing redevelopment work around this road, the traffic of heavy vehicles has increased and the road was damaged badly. But BMC is not repairing potholes on this road.” 

Manjrekar said even pedestrians can’t walk properly on this road. “The road patch opposite the post office is in bad condition. Recently I have filed complaints about the road, but no one pays attention.”

There are hundreds of locations where roads either have big craters or are uneven, said Ansari raising questions on BMC’s pothole-filling methods. “After complaints, the BMC tries to fill potholes with paver blocks or cold mix which makes them even worse. The material spreads across the road and becomes more dangerous for vehicles.”

Will fix all soon: BMC

Civic officials said they will take care of all potholes soon. “We are trying our best to repair all the roads. Currently, immersion routes for Ganpati idols are our priority. We will fill up all the potholes on all roads in the coming weeks,” said Ulhas Mahale, deputy municipal commissioner. He said there are private roads and some roads are with contractors under defect liability period where instructions have already been given.

Pothole-filling on overdrive

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