The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan to improve and expand some major roads in south Mumbai has hit a stumbling block, as the removal of obstructive structures in these areas is very difficult, say civic officials.
Road works at four major roads in the island city — Kalbadevi road, Maulana Shaukat Ali road, Maharshi Karve road and Nathalal Parekh Marg, has been stalled for a month.
“The civic administration wants to widen [Kalbadevi] road as planned under the development plan (DP) and as stated in the improvement programme, but this isn’t possible. Old buildings, especially in south Mumbai, are situated very close to the roads,” said Janak Sanghvi, BJP corporator from Kalbadevi.
He added, “If the administration decides to undertake the work in accordance to the DP, it is unlikely to be completed in the next 20-25 years, as they need to demolish at least 100 old buildings to widen the road.”
The order to build roads according to the DP was issued by Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner (in-charge of roads). He said, “We will sort out the issue soon.”
In 2011, the BMC decided to improve 160 major roads in the city by awarding contracts worth Rs570 crore. While 30 km of roads would be made with cement concrete, 42 km will be remade with asphalt.
The contracts were awarded in September 2011 and work was scheduled to start in the first week of October. Several hiccups including administrative delays and the traffic police’s refusal to issue no objection certificates (NOC) to the contractors put the work on the slow track. The traffic police finally cleared the NOCs on November 4 and the road works began on November 10.
However, work on the roads was stopped in January 2012 in an attempt to modify the plan in accordance with the DP’s roadline (proposal highlighting the optimum width and size of each road undergoing repair).
The deadline for the first phase of road works is February 29 and the second phase is May 31.