A-Ward shows how it’s done | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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A-Ward shows how it’s done

Tired of waiting for the municipal corporation to come up with a foolproof system to ensure the city’s roads don’t look pockmarked, residents of south Mumbai have decided to do the job themselves.

mumbai Updated: Jun 09, 2010 00:38 IST
Bhavika Jain

Tired of waiting for the municipal corporation to come up with a foolproof system to ensure the city’s roads don’t look pockmarked, residents of south Mumbai have decided to do the job themselves.

Active citizens groups and residents associations of A-Ward — including plush areas of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, parts of Nariman Point, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Churchgate — have formed teams that will keep a watch on 35 roads including arterial roads and bylanes, in the ward.

More than 50 people have come together as volunteers, who will focus on roads that were repaired in 2008-09 and are under the three-year warranty period.

“We have gathered a lot of data about these 35 roads. We visited these roads and noted damaged spots,” said Ashad Mehta, president of the Oval –Cooperage Residents’ Association.

“After the inspection, we went back to the same spots with a representative of the contractor and a civic supervisor.” Bringing the two together was the toughest task and needed a lot of coordination, residents said.

The contractor, who has repaired the road, is responsible for maintaining it until the warranty period ends. If he does not maintain the road, he can be penalised or even blacklisted.

Contractors are paid money even for maintenance work that they do in the warranty period, but they usually get away even if they shirk responsibility because there is no monitoring by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The residents’ visits revealed that paver blocks on the connecting roads and pavements were giving way. Small potholes and uneven surfaces needed to be filled.

“The biggest task was to get the contractors to do the work. We took help of the civic supervisors and nagged them,” said Colaba resident Kunti Oza, founder of Clean Mumbai Foundation.

Residents living on these roads were told to keep in touch with the contractor’s men and monitor the repairs. The result: Rectification work on at least 50 per cent of the spots has been completed while contractors have promised to complete the remaining work after the rains.

This exercise has begun in time for the monsoon, when potholes are a serious problem, and will continue throughout the year.

The BMC has appreciated the model.

“Local participation is very helpful,” said an official from the Roads Department of A-ward. “It helps bring out a sense a belonging among people of the vicinity.”

“Post-monsoon, we’ll inspect these roads and if they are damaged we will be get back to the contractors,” Oza said.