Long-drawn tendering processes, time-consuming procedures to get requisite clearances from traffic police and civic departments, and shoddy work by road contractors. Result: A rough ride and distressing monsoon for Mumbaiites every year.
Ahead of this monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had planned to utilise a hefty sum of Rs1,130 crore to carry out road-relaying work. However, the BMC is likely to end up using only half of this amount, thanks to a flawed, slow-paced bureaucratic system.
Although official figures on the extent of road work completed are yet to be released, senior civic officials said that only 50% of the work has been completed so far. On many of the 208 roads where resurfacing was planned in the island city and western suburbs, work has not even begun.
“While 50% of the work has been completed, 10-20% will be completed by May-end. Work on many roads is stuck as clearances from traffic police and other departments are pending,” said a senior civic official
After the high court stalled the awarding of contracts for road relaying in the eastern suburbs last month owing to irregularities in tendering, funds worth Rs242.49 set aside for the purpose will be completely unutilised. “Work will now be taken up only after monsoon when tenders are likely to be called again for these works,” said another official.
Ashraf Azmi, Samajwadi Party corporator from Kurla, said: “Roads in eastern suburbs, especially in Kurla, are in a pitiable state. But, step-motherly treatment continues to be meted towards this region.”
Though the civic administration admitted that the deadline to complete the road works will not be met, it claimed that roads would be repaired by May-end. “In cases where roadwork cannot begin before monsoon, contractors will be given work orders and given the charge of maintaining roads during rains,” said Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner. He said preventive maint­enance of roads with bad patches will be taken up simultaneously. “The work will begin in three-four days.”