Even though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has mentioned lack of supervision in fixing the patches dug up for work on underground utilities as one of the reasons why city roads are riddled with potholes, it has no plans to give you relief the next monsoon too.
According to BMC officials, various agencies are likely to dig up more than 900km of roads between October 2016 and May 2017 for repair and relaying of underground utilities such as electricity cables, telephone cables, stormwater drains, sewage and water supply pipelines.
Around 600km of roads were dug up between October 2015 and May 2016. The civic body has recorded more than 3,000 potholes since June.
The circular with tweaked guidelines for trenching (digging roads to lay utilities), which is available on the BMC’s website, was issued in the last week of July and has been sent to 32 agencies involved in the work.
“It is, however, noticed over a period there has been lack of proper supervision of reinstatement of the trenches by ward engineers leading to accelerated deterioration of reinstated trench and adjoining road surface, formation of potholes…”states the circular.
It states utility agencies will have to submit an annual trenching plan for prearranged works to ward officers before September 15. A delay in submission of plans could invite a penalty of 7% to 15% on the reinstatement charges paid by the agencies to the civic body.
The responsibility of the roads has been fixed on ward-level road engineers, who will have to monitor the work till the patch is reinstated.
The circular states lack of coordination between the roads department and ward engineers leads to haphazard digging of newly constructed roads.
It directs ward engineers to plan trenching taking the ongoing road projects into account to avoid early deterioration of roads.
The circular also stated, “Many a times, a road improved by the central agency is excavated the next day by the utility agency. This was never the intent of simplifying the trench policy (last simplification was in 2014). Such reckless trenching has led to excessive damage to recently improved roads…”
The executive engineers of roads department are instructed to send a weekly report of trenching to chief engineers of roads, vigilance and additional municipal commissioner (eastern suburbs).
Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We are hopeful the changes to the guidelines will bring in supervision and better coordination between the ward and central agency. The utility agencies have been informed about the changes to the guidelines.”