Construction work carried out in a rush to meet the Commonwealth Games deadline is now taking a toll on the city roads. Although it has rained for just three days, these newly laid roads are already crumbling.
Just nine months back, close to Rs 500 crore of the taxpayers’ money was spent by the public works department (PWD), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on constructing and improving these roads. But many arterial roads such as Bhishma Pitamah Marg, Deshbandhu Gupta Road, Ashoka Road, Sardar Patel Marg, NH-24 besides the road in front of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, are already marred by potholes.
These roads should have remained in good shape for at least five years, which was the minimum warranty period, a benchmark set for contractors. But the road building agencies are in no mood to punish the contractors. In fact, top officials from these agencies think these potholes are of “minor nature”. “We will ask the contractor to repair the road if it has been damaged. We can only penalise them if the entire road constructed by them is unusable, which is rarely done,” said an MCD official.
The MCD also claimed its roads were in perfect condition. “The standard of our roads have been found to be satisfactory,” said Deep Mathur, director press and information, MCD.
In many places, new roads and pavements have been dug up by service providers to lay cables. “Because of constant digging, roads have been damaged,” said Delhi chief secretary PK Tripathi.
The worst is, however, yet to come. Met department has already predicted heavy rainfall in the coming days which will make the ongoing repair of roads an almost-impossible task. Road experts say any effort to repair or relay roads during rains are futile. “The gravel cannot hold the bitumen and roads constructed in such conditions get damaged easily,” said Dipak Mukherjee, former engineer-in-chief, PWD.