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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Mumbai: only 52 potholes on 652 roads built under supervision, says report

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 26, 2013
First Published: 08:44 IST(26/8/2013) | Last Updated: 12:02 IST(26/8/2013)

Picture this: the city today has more than 28,000 potholes on its roads.

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But on a total of 652 newly-laid roads monitored and supervised by a third party auditor, a new internal study has found only 52 potholes.

This is the first such study conducted on the state of roads built in the last two years under private, third party supervision.

However, the civic body, inexplicably, has discontinued the practice of appointing third-party auditors for supervising the city’s roads.

SGS India private ltd, a Switzerland - based third party auditor, has submitted a report to the civic body with a status check on all 652 roads whose work it had monitored.

According to the report, a copy of which HT has access to, the auditor found only 52 potholes, which disturbed just a fraction — 0.028% — of the total area of roads built by contractors under its supervision.

Aside from these, there are 28,181 potholes on roads built without supervision.

The report also found that 202 roads had been disturbed by trenches dug for various utilitylaying purposes by private companies and civic departments.

“Such audits scared many contractors as their shoddy work wasn’t approved. This meant that they were forced to correct their flaws,” said a senior civic official.

This notwithstanding, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has dismissed third-party audits and is currently carrying out road works worth more than Rs500 crore in the island city without any audit.

In addition, the standing committee recently rejected a proposal to appoint SGS as the auditor to monitor road works worth Rs100 crore in the western suburbs.

Corporators and contractors have been making a noise about the ineffectiveness of these audits and have demanded that action be taken against them.

Civic officials said the BMC was studying the report and could not confirm its veracity.

Senior civic officials blamed corporators for not approving more such audits.

“Many corporators had objections to just one firm, SGS, bagging all such auditing contracts. Truth is, sections are also opposed to having such auditors in the first place,” said a roads department official.


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