The roads in the city have already started crumbling and rather than fixing the problems, the civic agencies concerned have begun passing the buck. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which had constructed East Delhi’s Geeta Colony road, is claiming that the road caved in due to leakages, which the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) should have checked.
“The road has been laid over a water pipeline and over the past four months leakages started occurring and made the layers of the road weak which finally led to the cave-in,” said Deep Mathur, director press and information, MCD.
But why did the civic body not check these leakages, which could have prevented such an incident?
“It is the DJB’s job, they have the equipment to check such leakages,” added Mathur. The DJB officials refused to comment.
On May 28, more than 40 passengers in the bus had a narrow escape when a low-floor Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus they were travelling in fell into a 10-foot deep crater.
“We had been telling the MCD to keep a check on this road as the surface had become quite soft which was apparent even when one was walking on the roads. But as usual no one bothered to carry out any inspection,” said V.K. Arora, a resident of Krishna Nagar in East Delhi.
To ensure that other roads in the city don’t meet the same fate during monsoon, the Delhi traffic police have already identified a number of roads that need immediate repairing. “We have already sent a list of roads to various agencies such as MCD, PWD, NDMC to start the repair work immediately. Many of the stretches become weak just after just one shower,” said Ajay Chadha, special commissioner of Police (Traffic).
“We have sent the list to most of the civic bodies to repair these roads before the monsoons. Others we have placed on the list as a preventive measure,” Chadha said.
“The lower strata of the road that has to bear the load ultimately has to be properly compacted. If craters are developing on such roads it means that this has been ignored,” said S.M. Sarin, former director CRRI.
Last year, the Delhi traffic police had also come out with a list of 104-potholed roads that usually result in traffic jams. Civic agencies had then promised to convert such stretches into concrete roads.
The MCD had earmarked a budget of Rs 75 crore for maintenance of urban roads last year and Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for this year. The PWD too has a budget of Rs 5 crore to be spent on maintenance.
While road agencies are busy laying new roads for the Games, experts said even here, procedures are not being followed.
“We have ultrasonic technology available to check if there have been leakages underneath the road. However, it is not being done, which is why we are encountering such incidents,” said Sunil Bose of Central Road Research Institute.