Instead of tackling the menace of potholes on city roads, agencies responsible for Mumbai’s governance and infrastructure seem more preoccupied with trying to outdo one another.
Representatives of various agencies, including the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Public Works Department (PWD), which are responsible for some of the city’s roads, failed to turn up at a meeting called by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Friday to discuss measures to tackle the problem of potholes, a civic official said.
“We had called for a joint meeting of all agencies. Potholes on roads under the jurisdiction of these agencies should be filled by them, but they do not seem to do that. We wanted to hold the meeting to address this issue,” said LS Vhatkar, director, engineering and services (project) of the civic body. Only Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had sent its representatives to the meeting, he said.
The MMRDA, however, claimed they had sent a superintendent engineer for the meeting. Of the total number of potholes reported in the city, around 822 are on roads under the jurisdiction of agencies other than the civic body. Of these, 445 are under the MMRDA and 166 with the PWD. Potholes on roads under the Railways and the Bombay Port Trust (BPT) are 40 and 33 respectively.
Senior civic officials have also alleged that agencies are being inefficient in filling potholes on roads under them. “We have no option but to go ahead and fill potholes on their roads, if they do not take action,” said a civic official.
On the other hand, an MMRDA official said: “We have followed the guidelines of the BMC in filling potholes. We have very few roads under our jurisdiction and Mumbaiites will not have to bear potholes on these roads.” Meanwhile, the Congress has decided to hold a protest at Azad Maidan on Tuesday, against the BMC’s failure to fill potholes before the Ganesh festival.