Here is one reason why the quality of work on the city’s roads is not satisfactory: The civic body’s asphalt manufacturing plant at Worli, which supplies premix — the material used for making roads and filling potholes —has been under performing.
Sources from the civic body say that this is because most big road contractors have their own premix plants. If the civic plants are utilised to capacity, it would hurt their financial interests.
Admitting to this, a road contractor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said “Getting premix from the BMC’s plant would require greater accountability, as the exact quantity of premix that was used would be known. So, we prefer sourcing from private plants.”
Data accessed by HT shows a shocking gap in the demand and supply of premix. In June, the demand from premix from all the wards was 329 tonnes, but the plant supplied only 161 tonnes. For July, figures as of July 21 show that though there has been a demand of 338 tonnes from the city’s 24 wards, only 137 tonnes have been supplied so far.
Experts say that such a situation could spell disaster for the city’s roads. “The premix manufactured in the BMC plant is of better quality. There is no supervision in the private plants,” said Standing Technical Advisory Committee chairman NV Merani.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said: “We can’t make it compulsory for contractors to source premix from us because the plant doesn’t have the resources and infrastructure to supply such huge quantities”
Predictably, civic officials have passed the buck to each other. An assistant municipal commissioner from the Western suburbs said: “The plant doesn’t supply on time. Thus, we tell our local contractor get it for us,” he said.
However, Satish Badwe, chief engineer, roads department, said, “The gap is because the wards don’t choose premix from the plant. The plant’s responsibility is to produce premix, not supply it.”
The standing committee has decided to act on this. It’s chairman, Rahul Shewale said: “I have demanded that the BMC enhance the plant’s performance. I have also instructed for greater supervision of the plant.”