150% rise in potholes in Mumbai in 10 years

Hindustan Times | ByMehul R Thakkar, Mumbai
Jul 16, 2019 12:56 AM IST

According to the data provided by the civic body, citizens reported 7,775 potholes between 2009 and 2014 (June to June), compared to 19,597 between 2014 and 2019.

Here’s why your ride on city roads remains bumpy each monsoon – the number of potholes has risen 150% in the 2014-2019 period, compared to between 2009 and 2014.

Potholes near Bandra (West) bus stop.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
Potholes near Bandra (West) bus stop.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

According to the data provided by the civic body, citizens reported 7,775 potholes between 2009 and 2014 (June to June), compared to 19,597 between 2014 and 2019. For instance, south Mumbai saw 985 potholes between 2009 and 2014, compared to 2,057 between 2014 and 2019. In these 10 years, the BMC has not attended to a mere 699 potholes, according to the data.

The major jump started from 2016. Of the 27,372 potholes reported between 2009 and 2019, 15,760 were in the past three years. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of potholes being reported annually varied in the range of 1,000-2,000. However, a major spike was seen starting 2016-17.

In 2016-17, 6,827 potholes were reported, 3,976 in 2017-18, followed by 4,957 potholes between 2018 and 2019.

All these cases have been reported by citizens on the BMC’s official website, social media, WhatsApp, mobile application and BMC’s disaster management cell helpline.

The numbers don’t include the western and eastern express highway, as it is maintained by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). “The number of potholes being reported is going up owing to the rise in awareness and digital push. Earlier, there were only traditional ways of visiting the ward or writing to the BMC to register complaints related to potholes, but now it can be done using your phone,” said a BMC official.

Meanwhile, Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, who handles the roads and traffic department, along with Arun Nadgouder, chief engineer of the roads department, were not available for comments.

HT had reported on July 11 that the BMC’s mobile application, ‘MCGM 24x7’, received at least 35 pothole-related complaints daily between June 10 and July 9. Around 1,070 complaints were reported with the BMC, of which it claims to have addressed 964 complaints.

Civic activist Nikhil Desai said, “The number of potholes the BMC claims is not even half of the real picture. The BMC has no real number of potholes in the city, and it is only when citizens report it that they are counted and taken on record. Also, the number of potholes is going up drastically because there is no scientific way of filling them up when they appear.”

Desai added, “Whenever there is a complaint, the BMC only looks at making the road motorable. The number of potholes is high because the roads are not maintained well. The BMC spends crores on improvement of roads, but still every year, the picture is worsening.”

After a blame game related to jurisdiction of road maintenance in the past, the BMC in 2017 had released a list of roads it maintains in the city.

Further, a professor from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Bombay) said, “Everything is interlinked in the city if we see it with correct perspective. There is frequent waterlogging in several parts of the city every year, and this results in potholes later. Also, the design, and the way we construct roads in the city needs to change, considering the rainfall pattern that has changed in the past few years, along with the per vehicle load.”

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