The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed before the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday that a majority of complaints on potholes and poor condition of roads in the city were unwarranted and exaggerated. The civic body claimed its engineers were tackling the situation on a “war footing” and complaints and newspaper reports served little purpose other than “humiliating its engineers”.
BMC counsel Anil Sakhare said the court must not go by news reports alleging inaction. The submissions came while a bench of justice Shantanu Kemkar and justice MS Karnik was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on the poor condition of roads in Mumbai and the BMC’s failure to prevent and repair potholes every monsoon.
On Friday, the interveners in the case submitted some news reports, bringing to the court’s notice last month’s incident, wherein a 21-year-old man who was returning home after dinner with his friend died after his bike hit a pothole along the JJ flyover.
They also reminded the court of an observation by justice Kanade in August, who said a drive to Borivli had given him backache as the roads were riddled with potholes.
Sakhare retorted saying it was wrong to thoughtlessly blame the corporation and that justice Kanade’s backache could also have been caused due to “poor suspension in the judge’s car”.
The bench, however, cautioned the corporation against taking on an “adversarial approach” to the PIL, reminding it was the corporation’s duty to maintain the roads.
The HC has now directed the corporation to inform the court of the steps taken so far. The court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.