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Safer roads this monsoon

Travelling on Mumbai's roads may be less traumatic this monsoon with the civic corporation deciding to set its record straight this year, reports Sayli Udas Mankikar.

india Updated: May 12, 2008 02:52 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

Travelling on Mumbai's roads may be less traumatic this monsoon. The civic corporation, which receives a lot of flak for unfinished roadwork, has decided to set its record straight this year.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has for the first time sent out a set of pre-monsoon instructions that must be followed while winding up work on city roads. And all agency heads have been asked to send back compliance reports.

The letter — to suspend work by May 21 and get roads levelled and covered by May 31 — was sent out on Friday by DL Shinde, chief engineer, roads, as instructed by Uttam Khobragade, the acting additional municipal commissioner (city).

The instructions read: No debris must lie on roads and obstruct movement of traffic, pedestrian or storm water. Any dug-up area must be covered and barricaded. Roadside drains should be cleared of debris.

These guidelines are critical in a city that has most of its arterial roads dug up for the many mega projects that promise to turn it into a world-class megapolis.

"Every year we get flak for unfinished roadwork. So now, for the first time, we have set uniform instructions," Shinde said. "We want Mumbai roads to reach a safe stage before monsoon, we want uniform clear roads," Khobragade told the Hindustan Times. "We have made a list so that all heads of agencies pass it on to the site staff and monitor the works according to the deadline and instructions.”

Instructions have been sent to public agencies including the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, Public Works Department (PWD), Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA), Dairy Development Authority (DDA) and the Port Trust.

Khobragade expects to get compliance reports by May 21. "It will be closely monitored to see that all work end by May 31," he said.

Keval Semlani, activist and founder of NGO Mahadhikar, who filed a public interest litigation on road conditions after the July 2005 deluge, said: "It is a welcome move that the BMC is taking the initiative to coordinate all the work in the interest of citizens," he said. “ I hope other authorities do not make it an ego issue and comply with instructions.”