It’s likely to be a tough monsoon for motorists, thanks to the poor quality of paver blocks, poor quality of road repairs and lack of coordination between development agencies.
A panel of experts put together by the Hindustan Times visited five important roads and found they were not monsoon-ready. They felt that only 35% of the work required had been completed and that there was a lack of coordination between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
Though the BMC okayed work for the Metro and Monorail, the panelists said piling and digging should have stopped by May 31, which the MMRDA claims to have done.
However, debris was piled high on the sites, which led the experts to believe that the surrounding areas would be prone to flooding. Also, most roads affected by these projects were in bad shape.
“We have taken adequate precautions. The BMC gave us permission to undertake construction during the monsoon. However, no piling work will be undertaken,” said MMRDA chief Rahul Asthana.
Experts said paver blocks were one of the main reasons for the poor quality of the roads.
Nandkumar Salvi, retired civic chief engineer and a former member of the Bombay High Court-appointed road monitoring committee, said: “After utility agencies dig up the roads, the filling of the surface by paver blocks is never done properly. The poor quality of paver blocks will cause problems.”
More than 30 utility services dig up roads to lay or repair pipelines and cables underneath. Panelist and Bhartiya Janta Party corporator Pravin Chheda said: “The overall condition of the roads is fine, but paver blocks will be a problem.”
One of the worst roads observed was the Sion-Dharavi Link Road. The paver blocks there were coming loose and huge craters had formed. Workers were laying fresh blocks, though the deadline for road works was May 31.
Panelists said the poor quality of roads will raise the flood risk. “The monsoon hasn’t even begun and so many roads are not even level. These roads will be the first to be inundated,” said panelist and former IIT-ian Janak Daftari.