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Potholes puncture Delhi roads, make commuting a nightmare

Delhi, which has nearly thousand potholes, has been the biggest cause of road accidents in India. Two thousand people died in the country last year due to accidents related to potholes.

delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2017 09:04 IST
Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra
Hindusan Times, New Delhi
Delhi roads,PWD,public works department
Last week, a senior citizen died when his two-wheeler met with an accident, allegedly after hitting a pothole, in Civil Lines area of north Delhi.(Sakib Ali/HT File Photo)

An internal survey by the Delhi public works department (PWD) on the condition of roads has found 3,793 potholes across the city that are not just a threat to the lives of commuters but also cause congestion on roads.

The PWD claims 2,730 of them have been filled but that means, Delhi’s roads still have 1,063 potholes out of which 492 are in south zone, 487 in east while 84 in north zones.

Broken roads and potholes are the biggest causes of road accidents in India. According to the road, transport and highways ministry, as many as 6,424 road accidents due to potholes claimed 2,324 lives across India in 2016.

Last week, a senior citizen died when his two-wheeler met with an accident, allegedly after hitting a pothole, in Civil Lines area of north Delhi. In August, a school teacher had died after she was run over by a speeding water tanker in outer Delhi’s Kanjhawala village as the scooter she was pillion riding lost control after hitting a waterlogged pothole. On July 30 last year, a 45-year-old biker was killed in the same manner in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj.

A classic case of potholed road is Noor-e-Ilahi road in east Delhi’s Yamuna Vihar, which has 40 potholes in less than a kilometre stretch. “This road has not been repaired since monsoon. On Monday night, a couple met with an accident after their bike hit the pothole. This is just a small stretch but the maintenance is very poor,” said Anees Ahmad, a local.

The PWD, which manages about 1,200 km of city’s arterial roads, admitted that patchwork on this stretch was yet to begin.

Delhi’s pock-marked roads
An internal survey by Delhi’s public works department (PWD) on the condition of roads has found 3,793 potholes across city, of which 2,730 were repaired

Similarly, Outer Ring Road is dotted with 30 potholes between Modi Mill and Chirag Delhi. The PWD survey also found 40 potholes on the road between Bhopura border and Loni flyover.

“Repairing of potholes is a continuous work. Many potholes, which were discovered after the survey, have been filled. All potholes will be filled by November 4,” the official told Hindustan Times, requesting anonymity.

S. Velmurugan, senior principal scientist, traffic engineering and safety division, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) said accumulation of water on the road, use of poor quality material and overloading of vehicles were major factors behind the poor condition of roads.

“For a bituminous road, water is the biggest enemy. It is very important how the road is laid and how the drainage system along side or beneath the road is maintained so that water does not accumulate on the road. Because if it does, then it could create a pothole,” Velmurugan told Hindustan Times.

Ashok Bhattacharjee, an urban transport expert engaged with a smart city project, said poor quality of material, non-adherence to specifications, faulty contractual agreement and lack of proper supervision contributed to formation of potholes.

“Everyone engaged with construction of urban roads, i.e. contractors, supervisors, engineers, should be responsible for quality of construction and maintenance of roads. There should be action for negligence causing death or serious injury to commuters,” he said.

According to PWD officials, roads are recarpeted every five years or whenever required. Repairing is a routine process.

“There is a warranty period for all the contractors, depending upon the work they are given. If a road decays before time, we ask the contractors to re-lay it or redo the patch, failing which we get it done by another one using the security money of the previous contractor,” a senior PWD official from south zone said.

The official said if a contractor continuously fails to perform the work properly, action, which includes blacklisting, is taken against him. “There has been no need to blacklist any contractor in this zone yet,” he said.

But a PWD officer from east zone said the department had blacklisted one contractor for shoddy work.

Garima Bhatnagar, joint commissioner of police (traffic) said potholes are safety hazard and cause congestion. “If we spot a pothole on any road, we inform the PWD or other agencies and ask for repair as soon as possible.”

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 09:04 IST