In what will be a relief to all Mumbaiites who have to navigate the city’s roads, the civic body is considering implementing the duct system to prevent constant digging.
The state-appointed Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) has recommended that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) implement the duct system under footpaths to reduce road excavations, which damage the quality of roads.
Ducting is shifting all dry and small utilities into an underground pipe so that utility companies will need to dig up only fixed slots instead of long stretches of roads.
Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner (roads), said the BMC is seriously considering the duct system. “Though the utility agencies are not happy with the idea, we have decided to implement it in the city soon,” he said.
The STAC is preparing guidelines to implement the duct system in the city. “All dry and small utilities can be shifted into a duct under the footpath and not the road, though big utilities such as water pipes and storm water drains cannot be accommodated in a duct,” said NV Merani, STAC chairman. “In any case, the BMC is replacing the big water pipelines.”
Data with the civic roads department shows that from October 2009 till July this year, more than 15,500 permissions have been granted to various utility agencies to dig up roads. Of the 1,950 km of road network in the city, more than 530 km has been dug up for laying pipes, cables, and repairs by the 37 utility providers. These include civic departments, telecom service providers, gas agencies and power companies.
“Digging of roads leads to bad patches. Digging permissions are invitations for more potholes,” said an official from the road department, on condition of anonymity.
Last month, the STAC team had inspected six arterial roads in the city, as reported in the HT’s September 24 edition. The team has arrived at the conclusion that the roads need to have a duct system for cables.
MV Patil, a member of the STAC, said ground water and tide should be kept in mind while planning ducts.