Cracking the whip on his department engineers, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Wednesday directed officials to ensure that all potholes on PWD-maintained roads were filled in a scientific manner by November end.
Bhujbal gave this directive at a regional meeting of all senior PWD officials of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad held on Tuesday.
He said that if it was found out that there had been delay in filling potholes or shortcuts were used in the method, action would be taken against erring officials and contractors.
“Once a pothole is filled it should not open up or crack again. Contractors who are not vigilant about this will face penalties and other disciplinary action, and PWD officials in charge of the road repairs would have to face suspension,’’ said Bhujbal.
He has also cancelled leaves of all PWD officials until the job of filling potholes gets completed in the state.
Senior officials said that PWD engineers were asked to not take leaves or approve them for anyone in the department till November end. Bhujbal also directed his department engineers to close toll stations of privately managed roads where potholes had not been repaired before the given deadline. On roads, which were built privately but are yet to be formally transferred to private contractors, Bhujbal asked his officials to undertake the repairs.
PWD has been under flak along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other road agencies for the pathetic condition of roads in this monsoon.
Last year, Bhujbal’s department came under fire following the angst of motorists, who refused to pay tolls on pothole ridden stretches of road coming under the purview of the PWD. This year, there was a controversy after a biker died while riding on the Aarey Milk Colony road, maintained by PWD.
Both the Western and Eastern Expressway are maintained by PWD besides highways and roads in rural areas.