In a bid to make Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) online pothole tracking system more responsive, the civic administration has finally agreed to give more powers to ward-level engineers, who can now assign the photographed pothole in a complaint to a contractor on the spot, which earlier was the responsibility of the central agency.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta on Thursday issued a circular informing all the ward offices about the same. The modification in rules has come after continuous complaints made by the corporators about potholes in their respective wards not being attended to for a long period in spite of complaints.
"The procedure will remain the same. The pothole has to be photographed, but the engineer present at the spot need not have to wait for the central agency to assign it to the contractor. The official can do it right there and once assigned, the pothole will be filled in 24 to 48 hours," said Gupta.
As per the original procedure, the photograph of a pothole was to be uploaded on the BMC website and was sent to the central agency.
The central agency had to then assign the contractor to fill the pothole. There have been complaints that the procedure is time consuming and the potholes were left unattended for several days.
The present move came after corporators across party lines raised the issue in the Works Committee (City) meeting on Tuesday.
"The central agency takes too much time to fill a pothole. The entire procedure was time consuming and it took more than three-four days in some cases to even assign a pothole to the contractor," said Javed Juneja, a Congress corporator.
According to Gupta, though the ward engineer will have the power to assign the pothole to a contractor and start the work immediately, the closing of the complaint will be done only after inspection by the central agency.
The complaint is considered closed, only after the road engineer visits the filled pothole to check whether the work has been done satisfactorily or not.
However, according to civic officials from the road department, the corporator-contractor-ward level official nexus has forced the civic body to go back on its original stand of assigning the responsibility only to the central agency.
"The contractor lobby is working really hard to pressurise the administration to bring the old system of filling potholes at ward level back. The new system involving central agency had made the entire process more transparent," said an official.