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BMC to better processes to make roads better

A study by a committee of civic officials found provisions related to eligibility criteria, different rates of security deposits and defect liability period left room for manipulations

mumbai Updated: Jul 15, 2016 00:50 IST
Chetna Yerunkar
Chetna Yerunkar
Hindustan Times
BMC,pothole horror,Mumbai
The potholes on a road at Goregaon on Thursday. (Pratham Gokhale/HT)

Having zeroed in on poor quality of road repairs as the main reason behind potholes, the authorities – both civic body and state public works department (which handles three highways in the city) -- are now focusing on reforming the processes to improve the quality of roads.

To promote fair competition among bidders in the wake of scams in stormwater drain desilting and road repairs, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to change the general contracts conditions (GCC) that govern various civil work tenders. The civic body will come out with a detailed circular on the reforms next week. It is also looking at a new set of deadlines to avoid digging of roads for utilities during the monsoon.

“We have tried to put in place several reforms that will transform the way road works are carried out. We will issue a circular aimed at breaking the existing road contractors’ cartel, fixing accountability on officials and making the tendering process more transparent,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

A study by a committee of civic officials found provisions related to eligibility criteria, different rates of security deposits and defect liability period left room for manipulations.

The civic body will also frame deadlines to seek permissions for trenching to lay underground utilities, and plan a heavy penalty for those flouting the norms, said civic officials.

Meanwhile, a PWD official said the state government has changed its mandate for repairs and renewal of state highways to ensure they can handle the heavy rain effectively. The change in the policy will prevent potholes on busy roads, officials claimed.

The PWD maintains and repairs the western expressway highway, eastern express highway and the Sion-Panvel highways. Although the EEH is claimed to be pothole-free, the department has received complaints of 150 potholes on the Sion-Panvel highway, of which 135 have been filled. Similar maintenance work has been carried out on the WEH, according to the latest data collected by the department.

“The EEH was built using mastic asphalt, and so it has no potholes. The MMRDA constructed the highway and transferred it to us for maintenance. As part of the change in approach, we plan to repair pothole-prone stretches on major roads in phases. As the repair work will include re-laying of mastic asphalt, there won’t be any potholes,” said an official from the PWD.

Fund crunch may, however, hit the plan. “We cannot go for mastic asphalt, as its costs Rs1.25 crore for a km, against Rs60 lakh a km for concrete roads,” said the officer. “The patch work is mostly done at junctions. We could not renew the WEH for eight years owing to fund crunch, even though the mandate says every arterial road should be repaired every five years.”

“Along with the highways in the city, we have directed our regional offices to depute mobile vehicles with necessary mechanism to ensure potholes are filled immediately after they surface,” SB Tamasekar, secretary, PWD (Roads) said.

The civic body has so far recorded 878 and repaired 771 potholes. It is now looking at new technologies to build roads, but is yet to decide, said officials.

Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said,“We have set a deadline of 15 days for filling potholes. The policy on the deadline and penalty amount for laying underground utilities is being drafted.”

First Published: Jul 15, 2016 00:24 IST