After receiving flak from all quarters, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to be struggling to come up with ways to appease the public as well as to ensure better roads.
It has now started a three-day exercise to make contractors pay for bad roads. Also, the civic body has decided to set up a special cell to coordinate and monitor road repairs.
On Friday, as Hindustan Times continued its campaign on Mumbai’s pothole-filled roads, the BMC instructed its zonal and ward-level staff to make a list of all pockmarked roads that fall under the defect liability period (DLP).
The DLP is the period under which a contractor has to take the complete responsibility for the road that he has constructed. He has to repair it at his own cost in case of any defects comes up. For asphalt roads, the DLP is for three years while for cement concrete roads it is five years.
The move comes days after standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale recommended that contractors of roads, which had developed potholes and were under DLP, be blacklisted.
The civic body suspects that most of the roads on which potholes have cropped up this year fall under the DLP.
According to civic figures, a total of 1,138 roads currently fall under the DLP. Of these, potholes on 355 roads have been filled, whereas 169 locations are yet to be attended.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “We have instructed our zonal deputy municipal commissioners to collate a list of all the roads under the DLP and check if they have potholes. The report has to be submitted in three days. We will take action against the contractors concerned.”
Shewale said, “The persistent problem of potholes has created an impression in people’s minds that the civic body is not acting tough on contractors. Hence, the BMC needs to take strict action and ensure that a strong message is sent to the contractor lobby.”
The BMC has also decided to set up a special cell to coordinate and monitor road repairs. “It is the citizens who have to suffer due to lack of coordination between the road department and ward official,” said Shewale, adding that special cell will ensure more accountability.
After receiving complaints of activists from political parties attacking contractors, the civic chief on Friday threatened the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Mangesh Sangle of dire consequences if the party continued to take the law in their own hand.
On July 13, MNS activists had beaten up BMC contractors in Dadar for not filling up potholes.