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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

This is Mumbai’s hole truth

Kunal Purohit and Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 23, 2013
First Published: 08:15 IST(23/7/2013) | Last Updated: 08:21 IST(23/7/2013)

Don't expect your ride to get any better or safer this monsoon.

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While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may want you to report potholes on the city's roads, its efforts on following up on the complaints is dismal.

In an attempt to gauge the civic body's response, HT reporters lodged complaints of bad roads belonging to various agencies at 13 different locations in the city.

On the fourth day, HT went back to check the status of these complaints and found that at work hadn't even started at nine spots.

And repairs done on the remaining four were so shoddy, that it further worsened the condition of the roads.

The poor response of the authorities that are in-charge of the roads — the BMC, state agencies such as the Maharashtra Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the public works department — are still not taking the pothole menace seriously.

Two motorists have already lost their lives because of accidents caused by potholes on roads this monsoon.

The BMC, on an average, spends Rs50 crore of the taxpayers' money each year on filling potholes.

It has spent Rs87 lakh on a private company for the pothole tracking software, which it touted to be a sophisticated, citizen-friendly system.

During its audit, HT found that potholes on roads such as the one under the Sion Circle flyover and the Elphinstone bridge had grown bigger and deeper.

On the other hand, the pothole on SV Road in Santacruz (West) was repaired in such a shoddy manner that it made the road more dangerous for commuters.

Surprisingly, the work was certified by the civic engineer and the complaint was declared to be closed. According to norms, civic road engineers must ensure that a poorly repaired pothole is assigned to the contractor for repair again,

On SG Barve Road in Chembur, only the pothole against which the complaint had been registered was repaired, while the others were left untouched.

Reacting to the findings, additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “We need to make some improvements in the system so that it's more effective. We are also considering more stringent rules to ensure no delay in filling potholes.”


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