Fed up with the red tape stalling road work in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now setting up a new cell devoted to making sure these projects stay on track.
It will consist of officials picked from the roads department, who will take care of all aspects of a road project, from acquiring land, rehabilitating project-affected people to planning the new or widened roads.
The cell is expected to speed up the process of acquiring land for reserved roads, and also give a boost to the several stalled road-widening projects.
Currently, road projects have to clear a bureaucratic tangle before being started. The development plan department looks after acquiring land for new roads, but the local ward office and local building proposals department handle this for widening existing roads. The new BMC cell will bring all road projects under one department.
“The cell’s officials will coordinate with different bodies responsible for acquiring land, for both new roads and widening existing ones,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner. “There is a perception that widening of roads has taken a back seat. This cell will speed up the process.”
“The cell will concentrate on creating new roads by acquiring land reserved for roads. We need new roads to decongest the city’s road network.”
Two of the city’s suburban arterial roads, Lal Bahadur Shastri(LBS) Marg, stretching from Sion to Mulund, and Swami Vivekananda(SV) Road, are examples of the civic body’s dismal record with road-widening projects. For years now, various agencies such as the BMC as well as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have tried in vain to widen these roads.
Officials said the widening of many roads were stalled by owners of buildings along them, unwilling to part with their property, which the civic body needs to acquire in order to widen roads.