Maharashtra acts on bad roads, 2 months after HC rap

  • Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2015 23:22 IST

Always wondered why Mumbai's roads are being dug up round the year?

There may soon be a way not only to find out the cause for such frenetic work, but also to register your complaint on a toll-free number and get updates through a dedicated website.

A Bombay high court interim order issued in May, which said pothole-free roads are the basic right of every citizen, has finally forced the government to take note of the poor state of roads in Mumbai and other cities.

On Thursday, the state’s urban development department (UDD) issued an order asking the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other civic bodies to follow the HC’s guidelines and ensure all roads are well-maintained.

The government resolution came just in the nick of time, a day before the high court heard the case on Friday (see box). All civic bodies come under the jurisdiction of the UDD.

Among the measures outlined by the UDD is putting up signboards for all roadwork done.

These boards must have details such as the name of the agency doing the work, the deadline and the scope of the project.

To better address citizens’ grievances, the BMC and other civic bodies will have to set up a grievance redressal system by way of a toll-free number, a dedicated website, a complaints cell and a text message service.

UDD has asked all civic bodies to use scientific methods to fill up potholes and repair bad roads, and these details should be put up on the website.

In 2012, the BMC had introduced a pothole tracking system, which allows citizens to post photos of potholed roads on a portal.

The civic body was expected to repair these potholes in 48 hours and upload a photo of the work done. But, the deadlines were rarely met.

“The civic body now has two weeks to resolve the complaint. Citizens can complain about uneven patches, broken paver blocks and any other aspect of poor road work, not just potholes. The civic body will also have to put up on the website the mechanism used to repair the roads,” a senior UDD official said.

The HC’s landmark interim order came on May 20 this year, after a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in 2013.

It asked the BMC and agencies such as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and three other municipalities in the Thane district to get their act together.

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