The municipal corporation got a tongue-lashing from the state government-appointed expert committee — the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) — on Monday, for its inept handling of the city’s chronic pothole problem.
At a meeting held to discuss the issue, the STAC criticised the way the BMC was indiscriminately using paver blocks across the city.
The STAC also said that the three jet-patcher machines bought by the civic body at a cost of Rs 78 lakh each had proved to be ineffective.
Committee members have now said that the civic body should use paver blocks sparingly and that contractors laying these blocks should be strictly supervised by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“There are several patches in the city where the paver blocks meant for sidewalks, joints and interior lanes are being used on high-density roads. Due to the pressure, these paver blocks have sunk, leaving gaping holes,” said N.V. Merani, chairman, STAC.
Admitting to lapses, BMC commissioner, Swadheen Kshatriya, said, “It is true that some paver blocks have been placed where they are not supposed to. Also, proper procedures were not followed.”
Standing committee chairman, Rahul Shewale, and members of STAC then held a joint meeting to discuss the various ways in which potholes can be effectively tackled and roads maintained better.
There is an estimated 1,900 kilometres of road in the city, of which only 502 kilometres are concretised. Roads, bridges and flyovers across the city have been riddled with potholes and bad patches this year.
The civic body has budgeted Rs 60 crore to fill these.
At the meeting, it was decided that the STAC committee would undertake a project and advise the BMC on how underground utilities could be clubbed together and placed in ducts so that every time these utilities need to be changed or upgraded there was no need to excavate the entire road.
The committee has also suggested a multi-point plan that includes an inventory of all roads to be carried out with details of length, material used, underground utilities and pipelines.
“The civic body should undertake preventive measures before the monsoon so that fewer potholes develop on the roads. Because, filling potholes during the monsoon serves no purpose whatsoever,” a committee member said.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta agreed that the jet-patcher machines should have been bought in consultation with STAC, as they cannot be
used too frequently and were lying unused in a garage in Santacruz.