It’s not just the desilting of storm water drains that’s pending, the lack of co-ordination between agencies and lack of accountability have ensured that precious little has been done to ready some of the critical city roads for the monsoon.
Potholes remain unfilled, little or no pre-monsoon road improvement work has been done and trenches dug to lay underground utilities are yet to be closed, discovered the six-member panel constituted by HT to conduct a monsoon audit of 17 spots across the city, including five major roads. The audit, conducted on June 1, has pegged the city’s monsoon preparedness at 40% (or 4/10).
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may now be focusing on trying to fill all potholes, but HT’s experts panel said it is neglecting other equally critical issues.
“It is a shame that in a city like Mumbai, there is not a single stretch where your car can go without bumps,” said Sameer Desai, former Congress corporator and panellist.
The one big problem is the conflict between the BMC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The Andheri-Kurla Road is one crucial link road that has suffered thanks to this dispute.
The BMC has been handed over this road, but it is now under the MMRDA as the city’s first metro goes over this road. The concretised road is uneven, sunken and full of potholes and cracks.
Experts say the need of the hour is clarity in roles. “There should be demarcation of responsibilities among agencies to maintain roads under infrastructural projects,” said SN Patankar, retired city engineer and panellist.
James John, panellist and an activist of Action for Good Governance and Networking in India, said: “One agency should be given the responsibility. When roles are unclear, citizens get affected.”
“At many spots, asphalt and concretising work has not started. The existing potholes will become deeper during the monsoon,” said Nandkumar Salvi, panellist and retired chief engineer, storm water drains.