Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner (projects), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation speaks about why the civic body failed to meet its own deadline.
More than 50% of the road work is yet to be completed. Why has the BMC failed, yet again, to complete road re-laying and repair work ahead of the monsoon?
Yes, we have not been able to meet the deadline as far as minor roads are concerned. This is because work orders for these roads were issued only after the BMC elections. There were other hurdles too, such as obtaining a go-ahead with respect to storm water drains as work on installing utilities and road re-laying clashed in many places. On minor roads where work could not begin on time, we have decided to not take them up for re-laying. Instead of leaving work half-finished at the onset of monsoon or leaving roads half dug up, it has been decided to start work after October.
A number of initiatives were taken by the BMC in the past one year to improve the condition of roads and keep a check on contractors, like bringing in a third-party audit, increasing the defect liability period, etc. Have these initiatives helped or backfired?
In some cases, they did become hindrances. Though they did not hamper the start of any work and ensured the quality of road re-laying, constant inspection by third party auditors could have been one of the reasons for slow progress of work at many sites.
Contracors are expected to use the new cold mix technology for repairing potholes this monsoon. What difference will it make?
The biggest advantage of this technology is that work carried out during the monsoon will last longer as opposed to hot mix technology. We have also imposed effective checks on the contractors. The defect liability period for pothole repair has been increased from one year to two years.
What practical difficulties or challenges could arise with cold mix technology?
We will use three cold mix technologies, which are ready with the technology suppliers. Contractors have to place orders as and when required on time, as materials for two of them will be supplied from Pune and Nashik. The contractors will have to set up chowkies at different places. Photos of potholes submitted by citizens will be sent to engineers in charge at the ward level. They will have to assign work to the contractor, so the pothole is attended to within 48 hours.