The civic body, which has been flayed for the sorry state of city roads this monsoon, is set to check out six different quick-fix technologies (see box) for filling potholes.
Looking for ideas to improve the quality of roads, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) met representatives of six firms selling patented technologies.
The BMC has decided to conduct trials by using each method on 100 metres of a road, said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner (roads). All six technologies aim to replace the use of asphalt and other hot-mix methods that get washed away during the monsoon.
After the firms re-surface the stretch, it will be tested for two months, and the civic body will pick the technology that delivers the best result. The selected method will be used for road constructions from 2012 onwards. The BMC has made a provision of Rs40 lakh for this project.
“A junior engineer will submit a report on the road’s performance. Depending on that, we will decide what technology to adopt,” said Rahul Shewale, BMC standing committee chairman.
If these firms provide a real solution, the BMC will include their material in the tender for the next road repair contracts, to be awarded for the period between March 2012 and March 2014.
As these technologies are patented, there is one company that offers each of them, said Gupta. “That’s monopoly and giving all rights of supply to a small group of suppliers is not advisable. We will take decisions as per the recommendations given by the Standing Technical Advisory Committee,” he said.
There is a flip side to all this: These are patented technologies and could be very expensive. One of the firms, Hindustan Colaca, uses a cold mix. Despite the availability of cold mixes, contractors have not used them because of high cost as compared to hot mix asphalt. Also, most contractors have their own asphalt plants.