Tired of the never-ending bumpy rides on potholed roads despite crores of taxpayers’ money being spent every year, residents of Juhu have now decided to repeat a successful experiment conducted a decade ago to make sure they get better roads. Citizens of ward 63, in Juhu, have decided to revisit a previous successful attempt in monitoring and supervising road work in their area-a move they are confident will make their roads last longer. This audit will take off in January.
Residents of the area have now come together to build an 8-member team, which will be supervising the relaying of at least six roads, slated to take place soon. These roads will be re-laid under the Rs.363-crore project, to relay 72 roads in the western suburbs. This team will be having a civil engineer on board, who will be overseeing the roadwork and directing the residents’ efforts.
Utsal Karani, a part of the team, who had also audited roads in the first experiment they had conducted about a decade back, said the team would start work soon. “We are in talks with a civil engineer who would periodically inspect all these roads in the ward, so that there is a check on the activities of both the contractor and the BMC’s actions.”
Reflecting on the previous experience at social audits in 2001-02, Karani said, “We had supervised work on 13 roads in Juhu, which were being re-laid together. These roads lasted for at least 5 years, and the quality did not decrease one bit. It was only after that that constant digging of the roads led to a deterioration of its quality.”
Vijay Thakre, a former engineer with the public works department, who is playing an instrumental role in the project said, “There needs to be greater transparency in the way these works, sponsored by the taxpayers’ money, are carried out. Both the BMC and the agency appointed to carry out the work need to be held accountable and social audits will do exactly that.”