MCDs, PWD struggle to fix potholes on Delhi roads ahead of monsoonUpdated: Jun 28, 2017 14:24 IST
Delhi’s roads are far from ready for the monsoon that is scheduled to hit the city this week.
All road repair work in the Capital was supposed to be completed by June 15, but several stretches are still filled with potholes and debris.
The three municipal corporations — North, South and East MCD — had identified 209 stretches where repair work was planned to be completed before June 15. Funds were given for the repair of these roads but the corporations admit that 155 of these are still not ready.
Meanwhile, digging work is also on at several stretches which could prove disastrous once the rains arrive. “The direction against road cutting or digging from June 15 till the end of monsoon, is being openly violated,” said Mukesh Goel, councillor, Sarai Pipalthala. “It is also mandatory for the agencies to fix all potholes and remove debris so that there is no waterlogging on roads,” Goel added.
Take the case of Pocket B, Mayur Vihar II. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation is carrying out work to construct storm water drains here. With the debris lying all around, residents fear that the ongoing project could cause mayhem during monsoons. However, EDMC officials maintain that the work was started before June 15 and the norms do not apply in this case. “This is a big project and we can’t stop construction work during monsoon. We are removing the debris everyday from the site,” the official claimed.
However, when HT visited the place on June 26, heaps of construction debris were seen on the road.
This is not an isolated case.
Near Gurunanak Eye Centre at Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Marg, the Public Works Department (PWD) is constructing a drain on both sides of the road. “The work started only a few days back. And though the agency is doing the work at war foot, I don’t think it will be completed before the rains. Last week’s pre-monsoon showers led to massive waterlogging here due to the debris lying around,” said Saleem Khan, a resident.
Similarly, the road connecting Raghunath Mandir, DDA Flat Kalkaji to Alaknanda Market in South Delhi is among the 155 MCD roads where work is still on. “Two months back, the South MCD started the work to construct drains here. But within a few days, labours left the site. The half-dug lane is now a ground for mosquitoes breeding,” said Virender Kasana, former councillor from the area.
Interestingly, before taking up any work that involves cutting up a road, the government and private agencies have to deposit a fixed sum in advance. Yet, the repair of such roads is painfully delayed. MCD officials say that lengthy procedures and need for approvals at various stages lead to delays. “There is a procedure to follow. We need to issue tenders depending on the volume of work,” said Yoginder Singh Mann, spokesperson, North MCD
Multiplicity of agencies
Among the key factors responsible for potholed and damaged roads are: multiplicity of agencies, lack of co-ordination among agencies and poor drainage system.
At New Friends Colony, for example, South MCD carried out dense carpeting of roads in 2016. For residents, it was good news as they had been demanding this for seven years. Yet, some of the lanes saw heavy waterlogging during monsoon. “The drains were not given any proper outfall, which led to waterlogging,” said Chitra Jain, RWA member, New Friends Colony. To resolve this problem, MCD again dug the roads in September 2016 to build the drains. But situation still didn’t improve, Jain said. Finally, the officials said that there is flaw in the bigger drain (at JD Musafir Road) which belongs to PWD.
According to Jain, though the PWD carried out some repair work, the problem is yet to be fixed.
Funds & quality issue
As per rules, a road made using bituminous cannot be constructed again before five years; for roads made with ready mix concrete, the cap is of 10 years. If there is damage before this period, it has to be repaired by contractors free of cost. However, because of the nexus between contractors and councillors, roads languish with potholes, said an official from North Corporation.
“We have no money to distribute salaries, how can we carry out the repair work,” a senior MCD official said.
Meanwhile, as per a report there has been a 43 per cent increase in complaints filed by residents about poor repair of roads in the last one year. The report by the Praja Foundation, an NGO, was published in May 2017.
“In 2014, 704 complaints were filed about the re-laying and repair of roads. In 2015, the number increased to 1809 and in 2016 it has gone up to 2595. In comparison, the area councillors of three corporations had raised the issue at house meetings only 111 times in 2014, 81 times in 2015 and 82 times in 2016,” said Milind Mhaske, director of Praja Foundation.
First Published: Jun 28, 2017 14:23 IST