From now on, the civic body will pay as much attention to footpaths as it pays to roads in the city, Mayor Shraddha Jadhav said on Tuesday.
Reacting to Hindustan Times' ongoing campaign on the sorry state of Mumbai's pavements, Jadhav, who is the head of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said: "Just like roads, we should be giving importance to the building and maintenance of footpaths. A footpath should be built at the same time that the road is being constructed so that there is proper coordination. I am directing the civic administration to do that."
Currently, roads and the pavements alongside them are not built at the same time; they are handed out as separate contracts and constructed at different points of time. This results in poor alignment, height problems and often no provision is made for the disposal of rainwater.
Within the next two months, the BMC will start building and repairing 161 major roads and 544 minor roads at a cost of Rs954 crore. Starting with these projects, Jadhav said she would ensure that the roads and footpaths are constructed in tandem. "It can be started with the road construction work the BMC is set to begin soon," she said, adding that she would discuss the matter at the BMC meeting on road construction and maintenance.
Jadhav said she would also direct the BMC to follow specifications while constructing footpaths.
"For instance, its height from the road should be such that senior citizens and children should not face any trouble," she said.
The BMC will also ensure that at least the footpaths in the non-hawking zones are free of encroachments. "We will request the state to clear the hawking policy at the earliest," she said.
The BMC admitted that specifications are not being followed. "There is problem with the reinstatement of paver blocks at the ward level. We will sort it out soon," said Satish Badve, civic chief engineer (roads department).