Angry about bad roads in the city? This will agitate you further -- the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has spent Rs11,000-crore to give you pothole-ridden roads over the past five years.
The BMC had a budgetary provision of Rs14,500 crore for repair and reconstruction of roads from 2011 and 2016, of which it spent Rs11,000 crore. That’s not all. It has got Rs5,183 crore for the job allocated in the budget for 2016-17. It will also spend an additional Rs2,000 crore on the repair of more than 1,000 roads, which is currently underway.
Experts and activists find the number difficult to comprehend. If Mumbai-Pune expressway, which passes through a difficult terrain, could be built at a cost of Rs1,600 crore and stay in good condition despite handling 12,000 vehicles daily, why can’t we get better city roads at ten times the cost, they ask.
The BMC handles a 1,950-km road network in the city. Considering the amount, it could have spent Rs7 crore on each kilometer in the past five years. Surprisingly, despite having such a huge amount at its disposal, the authority has only given you roads with potholes, rough patches and loose paver blocks.
The amount, which has increased three-fold in five years to improve quality, could have easily covered the cost of two big-ticket infrastructure projects -- coastal road and Goregaon-Mulund Link Road project. The budget was increased from 2013, after additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas prepared a Rs7,500-crore master plan for repair and reconstruction of roads.
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “With a huge amount of Rs14,500 crore, we could have made more expressways. Making good roads is not so tough. We need to get major companies to make these roads to improve their quality.”
He said, “The same bunch of contractors has bagged most repair contracts in the past few years. With the inquiry report catching their bluff, the situation might get better.”
Not just road repairs and reconstruction, the BMC has spent a massive Rs218 crore on filling potholes in the past five years. RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadage slammed the civic body. “If roads are made as per the standards, potholes should not surface. There are cities that got more rain than Mumbai, but still have pothole-free roads. Spending money on an ad-hoc basis is not the solution.”