Even before the arrival of monsoons, controversies regarding pothole filling work have hit the city with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) short-listing a technology that was declared a failure last year for six of its 14 sub-zones.
In tender packets that were opened on Monday evening, Patchmaker technology won work in prime areas of the city, such as the island city and western suburbs.
This comes after BMC had publicly declared that the technology was wearing off in most places and had failed. In fact, on July 18, 2012, additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta had also told Hindustan Times that the technology would have to be dropped, as it had failed.
Despite this, the company has been allowed to acquire a majority of the 14 sub-zones.
Vivek Datar, co-owner of Shaunak Infrastructure, which owns Patchmaker, denied that the product had failed last year. “A technology can fail if the workmanship is bad. Hence, it was not the product which failed. Had that been the case, it wouldn’t have been short-listed again this year,” said Datar.
Speaking to HT, although Gupta agreed that the technology had failed last year, he defended BMC’s decision.
“This year, we had told the company to carry out work on certain patches which were then scrutinised and subsequently approved by members of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). The technology was finally short-listed only because it was technically qualified. However, we will continue to keep a check on its efficiency of the technology this year as well,” said Gupta.
This year, the BMC has decided to have 14 contractors to fill potholes, with two in each of the seven zones. It will spend at least Rs 50 crore to fill potholes, with Rs 4 crore allotted to each of the seven zones initially. Of these, while Patchmaker by Shaunak Infrastructure has been short-listed for six, four other zones will have potholes filled using Jetpatcher machines.
The other technologies selected are Wonderpatch and Road bond, both of which were also used last year.