The civic body’s move to fine civic engineers who delay the process of assigning potholes to contractors has drawn flak from the agency’s engineering unit.
After several potholes were not attended to even after the deadline had passed, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had decided to impose fines on engineers, too, along with contractors, if they delay assigning the potholes reported by citizens using the BMC’s pothole tracking system.
A test run conducted by Hindustan Times in July had shown how potholes were not repaired within the stipulated 48-hour time period even after the civic body had introduced technology to fast-track repair work.
Last week, a letter stating several practical difficulties faced by civic engineers was sent to additional municipal commissioner, Aseem Gupta, by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Engineers Union (BMEU).
“I have received a letter from engineers on their problems and reasons behind opposing the move. We will be looking into it soon and decide on our course of action,” Gupta said.
Engineers cited several technical reasons for delays in assigning potholes for repair work.
“Once the photo of the pothole is uploaded on the website by citizens, there is a lot of work that goes on at the level of the engineers before potholes are assigned to the contractors. The pothole has to be plotted on Google maps and the agency under which the pothole falls has to be identified,” said Sainath Rajadhyaksha, general secretary, BMEU.
“Hence, it is not fair to impose fines on engineers as an engineer has to handle tens of potholes every day from different locations. It also takes a lot of time to upload the photo on Google maps under the software because of server issues,” added Rajadhyaksha.
According to the directive issued by the civic body, fines from road engineers would be recovered from their salaries. The chief engineer of the civic roads department has the authority to look into delays caused by engineers and take a decision on whether a fine should be imposed.