The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slapped a fine of Rs 82,000 collectively on two contractors for using substandard material to fill potholes.
The BMC will also issue show cause notices asking them to explain why they used poor-quality material and why their licences should not be cancelled.
According to the Road Department, the contractors, Ramesh and Associates and Sunrise Road Contractors, were fined Rs 57,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively.
The BMC, in consultation with the Standing Technical Advisory Committee, has issued a list of guidelines for material to be used while filling potholes.
On September 21, Hindustan Times reported that the BMC has spent Rs 5,383 crore over the past five years on Mumbai’s roads but there’s little to show for it on the ground. Potholes appear no sooner than the monsoon begins. Even at other times of the year, the roads are in poor shape. This year alone, the BMC has budgeted Rs 60 crore for roads.
Such was the public dissatisfaction that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan declared that motorists should stop paying toll to contractors until they get their roads in shape.
Rahul Shewale, civic Standing Committee chairman, who visited two asphalt plants last month to check on the quality of material, said: “When
contractors don’t use good material, roads get damaged repeatedly.”
Sunil Prabhu, Shiv Sena leader in the BMC, demanded that civic officers get road quality inspected by the Vigilance Department and only then release contractors’ payments.
Additional Municipal Commissioner AK Singh said: “We have paid Rs 26 crore to contractors for pothole-filling work. However, the liability is more than the amount paid. As of now, we don’t have the exact record.”
Niyaz Vanu, Nationalist Congress Party leader in the BMC, demanded to know the exact amount spent on road repairs and how many potholes have been filled in the last three to four months. “The data has not been collected as the staff was busy with Ganesh visarjan preparations. All details would be submitted in the next meeting,” Singh said.
According to Road Department data, of the Rs 60 crore budged for pothole repairs, Rs 16 crore will go to wards in the island city, Rs 23.80 crore to the western suburbs and Rs 20.20 to the eastern suburbs.