After receiving flak from the government-appointed Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) over pothole repairs, the civic body is finally taking note of the problem.
Apart from doubling the road budget, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also decided to give the major road maintenance work, repairs and filling of potholes to a central agency to maintain a better technical control.
The agency comes directly under the roads department of the BMC. It will appoint contractors, allot money and also inspect roads.
The decision comes after the STAC had disapproved of the civic body’s system to carry out the repair work at ward level. With no uniformity in the method used to fill potholes, the committee had suggested that the work be given to a central agency.
Also, this move will help reduce the confusion over jurisdiction. “Earlier, there was confusion as to which road was under which ward’s jurisdiction. To ensure no such confusion takes place, we have put the roads in two categories,” additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta.
As per BMC’s plan, each ward will repair roads below 30 feet wide, and those above that will be with the central agency. More than 40% roads in the city are more than 30 feet wide.
“Earlier, when we would call the ward to complain about a pothole-ridden road, they would tell us that it’s under the central agency. Now, it will be easier for us to know who to get in touch with,” said Ashish Gupta, a resident of Khar.
The members of the STAC committee say it is a good idea to get back to the central agency for maintenance and repairs of major roads.
“The contractors appointed at the ward level were not adhering to the guidelines issued by the STAC committee to fill potholes which resulted in shoddy work. This can now be avoided,” a member of the committee said on condition of anonymity.
He added that through this change, there could be better monitoring of funds utilised for filling potholes, which won’t be possible by decentralising the process.
Meanwhile, the BMC has plans to shift all the dry underground utilities such as cable wires, gas line into a duct so that digging of roads is not needed.
The STAC committee will be submitting their guidelines on how the utilities can be transferred in a week’s time.