Your roads could soon get smoother, and stay pothole-free longer.
Wanting to break the city’s dependence on inferior quality asphalt mixes supplied by private contractors, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to revamp its own, sole asphalt-making plant. The problem: it’s nearly defunct. Revamping the factory could help break the nexus between contractors and officials, leading to the dismal state of the city’s roads.
The BMC has now invited interested parties to submit their proposals for running the plant, and will be finalising the body by next month.
The BMC now plans to appoint a private body to operate and maintain the plant for the next five years. This move will ensure the civic body is able to fix accountability on the body running the plant, ensuring that the plant gets more efficient. Last year, the standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale had called the plant’s batch mix asphalt ‘perfect.’
The plant, which supplies batch-mix for pothole-filling and road work across the city, has been struggling for a few years now, struggling to make the quantities demanded by the city wards. This forced officials to look to contractors for the supply.
There was another problem in the plant’s functioning: asphalt to be used as hot mix had to be transported at high temperatures, and there was no way to ensure this. Last year, the civic body installed silos to ensure the mix remained hot after preparation.
Many of the contractors appointed to supply asphalt were themselves carrying out road works, which were only as good as the asphalt they used. Using low-quality asphalt meant they conducted frequent repairs, inflating the BMC’s bills.
GM Aggarwal, chief engineer, roads department said, “The plant’s functioning will be handled by the body running it.”
A civic official from the plant, not wishing to be named said, “There was no pressure on officials at the plant to meet targets. Wards would fix contractors, and wouldn’t even collect the asphalt the plant made”.