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Citizens tracking more potholes than civic engineers

Is the civic body shirking its responsibility by asking you to track potholes and uneven roads in the city?

mumbai Updated: Jul 31, 2012 01:20 IST
Reetika Subramanian

Is the civic body shirking its responsibility by asking you to track potholes and uneven roads in the city?

Of the 9,023 potholes detected since November 2011, citizens have reported 2,505 more complaints than the ward’s sub-engineers, according to data provided by Probity Soft, the company that developed the Pothole-Tracking System for the BMC.

Moreover, since June 2012, citizens have uploaded 5,235 complaints using the Android phone application. The sub engineers, on the other hand, have lodged only 3,008 complaints.

“By adopting this software and making citizens the pothole inspectors, the civic body is passing the buck to the citizens for a job that they are being paid for,” said Nilesh Patil from a Bhandup-based Advanced Locality Management.

In contrast to the earlier system where officials would have to go around and inspect roads to spot and repair potholes, the Pothole-Tracking System, which can be enabled on all Android phones, has allowed the civic body to act only on complaints by citizens, thereby allowing them to give inspections a miss. In many cases, potholes located inches away from the reported pothole, are often left unattended. “Inspecting and filling potholes is not a discretionary power of the civic body.

With this system in place, even if the civic body has met with the 24-hour deadline of filling the reported pothole, it has to be checked if the cover will last at least for one monsoon,” said Ashok Rawat, member, Dadar’s G-North Ward citizens’ forum.

Questions are also being raised about the number of complaints being recorded under this system. Last year, when sub-engineers personally inspected the roads to trace potholes and uneven stretches on the road, 6,000 complaints were registered in a span of just one month. However, over the past nine months, since the time the system was launched, sub-engineers have lodged just 3,259 complaints.