BMC’s smooth U-turn after pothole remark against citizens
Following backlash over its statement that citizens should refrain from filling potholes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now changed its stand, asking citizens or citizen groups to become civic body’s ward-level partners.
On Saturday, the BMC had asked citizens to stop filling potholes on their own, calling it “illegal”, on a popular social media site. Angry over the remarks, most citizens hit back at the civic body, claiming they were not doing their job.
On Monday, municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi took to Twitter, urging citizens to partner with the BMC to tackle potholes, saying the civic body recognised their good intentions, but wanted correct engineering methods to be followed.
“It is important to fill potholes scientifically, otherwise they will re-emerge. It can also lead to water seeping under the remaining road. We have decided to hand over our pothole mix to citizens who volunteer to fill up potholes, instead of discouraging their participation,” said a senior civic officer.
S Nadgauda, chief engineer of the roads department, said, “We are yet to decide the nitty gritties of our partnership with citizens or groups who can help us fix potholes.”
The BMC’s invitation has been met with mixed reactions from Mumbaiites. Irfan Machiwala, a resident of Mahim who has been filling potholes or identifying them and informing the BMC, said, “We have already been doing this in coordination with road engineers on ward level. But our experience tells us that whenever we have coordinated with the BMC, help is not available instantly. We have always got reasons such as labourers are not available, pothole mix is over, or road is under the defect liability period. If the BMC can give instant relief to citizens, this will really work.”
Mushtaq Ansari, an activist who started Pothole Warriors, a popular social media page, said, “It is good as long as it results in potholes being filled.”
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- Labour unions and political parties such as the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and Communist parties will also join the farmers’ morcha on Monday.