The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) came under fire on Friday over the city’s potholed roads.
The roads are in poor shape despite the BMC having exhausted its annual budget of Rs 60 crore for filling potholes. Initially, the BMC had budgeted Rs 40 crore for filling potholes; it made an additional allocation of Rs 20 crore in August on ward officers’ requests.
Standing Committee members targeted the administration, asking why there were potholes even though crores had been spent on filling them. “Where is the money going?” said Nationalist Congress Party corporator Niyaz Wanu.
Wanu and Congress corporator Sameer Desai demanded the ward-wise expenditure figures.
Additional Municipal Commissioner AK Singh, however, said the figures weren’t available then. He promised to submit the figures next week.
The amount given to each ward depends on the condition of the roads in the ward. “In the island city, each ward got Rs 1.25 crore to Rs 1.75 crore. In the suburbs, it was Rs 2 crore to Rs 2.5 crore,” said an officer from the Road Department on condition of anonymity. He added that the BMC spends about Rs 700 to fill each square metre of road.
He said that Kurla, Chembur, Mankhurd had the worst roads, while Colaba, Byculla, Kalbadevi and Marine Lines had fewer potholes.
“Normally, when the monsoon ends we have 20 to 25 per cent of the pothole-filling budget left to use till the next monsoon,” he said.
The BMC has now decided to conduct regular checks of roads that are still under the ‘defect liability period’, a sort of warranty, to nail errant contractors. “Ward officers have been asked to list such contractors and ask them to repair the roads,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta.
About 30 percent of Mumbai’s roads are under the defect liability period.