The Bombay high court has ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to repair all roads in the city by July 8, reiterating that the civic authorities are “under an obligation to do so”. The HC will take stock of the BMC’s compliance on July 8.
The directions came when a division bench comprising justices Shantanu Kemkar and MS Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the poor state of roads in Mumbai and Thane. The BMC told the court it had completed 80% of the routine road repair work carried out before the monsoon each year and would complete the rest soon. The civic body said it was having trouble finalising a contractor to attend to citizens’ complaints on potholes.
The bench said all agencies – the BMC, the state government, MMRDA, MSRDC, and Mumbai Port Trust — must coordinate and work together to redress the “ever-recurring problem of potholes and waterlogging every year during the monsoon”.
“Priority must be given to keep the road surface motorable and safe during the monsoon to ensure the citizens do not face any discomfort. The MCGM must co¬ordinate with all agencies concerned and expeditiously deal with potholes and such problems, instead of merely responding on compliance or saying the jurisdiction of the area concerned does not pertain to the MCGM,” the bench said.
The court also directed the corporation to ensure its toll-free helpline numbers and other citizens’ grievance redress mechanisms were functional and well-advertised.
The bench had earlier asked the BMC if it was prepared to tackle heavy rain. The BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhare said the civic body currently handled 1,941.72km of roads in the city, including 11 flyovers, 47 road overbridges and 104 bridges. He said the corporation had issued a public notice inviting tenders to fill the potholes on roads across the city, but the “response was poor, and the BMC had to finally get the agencies available to complete the work.”
Earlier during the hearing, the amicus curiae, the advocate appointed by the court to assist in the case, had submitted a potholes status inspection report to the bench, stating while the BMC was taking steps to repair the roads, the corporation’s “technique of repair or construction of roads was yet to be proved successful to withstand the heavy rainfall and the material used was not water-resistant”. The BMC, however, told the court it was consulting a standing technical advisory committee to come up with ways to improve the quality of roads.