According to the latest status report of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), only 53 potholes are yet to be repaired across Mumbai. The civic body has recorded 320 potholes this season and claimed to have repaired 267 of them as of Tuesday. This number, however, appears to contradict reality.
Sandeep Deshpande, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena corporator from Dadar and the party’s group leader in the BMC, said, “These are all false claims. How can civic officials report only four potholes? There are more than five potholes in one particular spot, which I have brought to the notice of various officials. I showed the commissioner potholes during his visit on Tuesday, which he promised to get repaired at the earliest.”
Ashoke Pandit, a citizen-activist from Andheri, said, “There are more than seven potholes in my lane alone. It is a big joke for the civic body to claim that there are only seven potholes left in K-West ward.” Civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Tuesday inspected a few roads in south Mumbai and ordered the deputy municipal commissioner and officials of the roads department to repair the remaining potholes urgently.
A source in the civic body said the lack of single-window system to record the number of potholes and issues with the current reporting mechanism have made it difficult for citizens and civic officers to register pothole complaints online. This is why the number of potholes recorded this year is low, the source said.
A senior road department official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Road officers are making rounds in their respective wards and repairing potholes. We have been repairing potholes at regular intervals and there is no manipulation in the numbers. The civic chief has ordered us to complete the repairs at the earliest and we are working on it.”
Pothole repairs cause jams
The public works department undertook pothole repairs at five spots between Santacruz and Kandivli on the western express highway on Tuesday, causing huge jams during the morning rush hours. The traffic police help line began receiving complaints about jams as early as 8am. Traffic officials said the south-bound stretch between Samta Nagar and Vakola was especially congested. “We asked traffic officers to deploy extra staff to ease the situation. Vehicles are moving slowly because of potholes,” said Sunil Paraskar, additional commissioner of police, traffic. “Because of the rains, the mix used to fill potholes is taking time to settle. We are working with the traffic police to ensure minimal inconvenience to motorists,” said a PWD officer.