Wary of facing flak over bumpy roads this monsoon, the civic body has decided to appoint three independent consultants to study newly re-laid roads that are in the warranty period so that roads with defects are identified and the concerned road contractors penalised.
Once the defective roads are identified, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will get the errant contractors to repair them free of cost.
There have been frequent allegations that owing to the nexus between contractors and civic officials, contractors are let off the hook and not made to pay for the road defects though the warranty has not expired.
Civic guidelines mandate that every road, after it has been re-laid, has to be maintained by the contractor who has carried out the repair work. The period for which the contractor is responsible for the condition of the road, called the defect liability period (DLP), is up to three years for asphalt roads and five years for cement-concrete roads.
The decision to appoint consultants was taken after the BMC found that there were 2,708 potholes on various roads in the DLP between June and November last year. The potholes were reported mostly by citizens through the pothole tracking system. The BMC had then imposed Rs 30.79 lakh as fine on contractors for not filling these potholes within the specified time limit.
“We noticed that roads that had defects were not being repaired by contractors though they were in the DLP. Instead, the roads were neglected and we were forced to re-lay them as soon as the DLP ended,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
Gupta said the study would be used to catch the errant contractors. “Using this report, we will instruct contractors to repair every defect there is on the road. The road’s DLP will continue till the defects are repaired.”
Officials in the roads department said such a study was necessary. “There is no data on the status of DLP roads. Local engineers don’t bother to conduct any such study.”