BMC to rope in two road consultants for utility duct study across MumbaiUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 23:50 IST
In a bid to reduce the need to dig up the city’s roads for utility repairs and maintenance, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has appointed two road design consultants to map all underground utilities and prepare a plan to shift all utilities to ducts. This is meant to ensure that any maintenance work on them does not damage the roads.
Civic officials claim that repeated digging up of roads affects its upper layers and leads to water seepage.
A proposal to approve the consultants’ appointment has been tabled before the BMC’s standing committee, which is scheduled to meet on October 26. A senior civic official from the roads department said, “Most of the time, utility agencies dig up roads without permission, in the wake of an emergency. This leads to deterioration of the roads. We realised that ducting of these utilities is essential so that if they have to be repaired, the roads will not be dug up.”
As per the contract terms, the consultants will undertake a preliminary exercise of mapping the existing utilities, preparing designs and drawings for trench-free pavements with utility ducts, and preparing estimates of the project. The contract is for a period of five years. They will suggest priority locations where the mapping of utilities can be done on a pilot basis.
There are 36 different utility agencies that dig up Mumbai’s roads – the highest in any Indian city – for repairing or maintaining lines of electricity, telephone, internet connections and cooking gas supply. The agencies dig up roads to lay their cables or for repairs, but when the time comes to fill them up, they do a shoddy job or leave it unattended for days.
Several western countries have proper ducts for underground utilities that have entry points at regular intervals. The BMC is planning to have similar ducts across the city. Nikhil Desai, a civic activist from Matunga, said, “It is a good idea to shift all the utilities to ducts, but why can they not do this when they take up road repair works. It is the same with footpaths where two different agencies work on roads and adjacent footpaths at different times, leading to uneven construction.”
The design consultants have been assigned a set of 54 roads across the city to map utilities. These include some major roads like P D’Mello Road, Walkeshwar Marg, Belasis Road, Senapati Bapat Marg, Juhu Versova Link Road, Carter Road, SV Road and Malad Link Road.
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party MLA and group leader in the BMC, said, “This is a very important project, and ducting of utilities has been a long-pending demand. I will be demanding a proper presentation to be given to the standing committee on the entire project, and it should not be cleared without thorough scrutiny.”
The BMC looks after about 2000km of the city’s roads, for which it takes up repair works every year. In its budget, the civic body had increased its allocation for road works by 25% this year. It had made a provision of ₹1,520 crore for more than 300km of road works.
Roads selected for underground utility ducting: P D’Mello Road, Walkeshwar Marg, Belasis Road, Senapati Bapat Marg, Juhu Versova Link Road, Carter Road, SV Road and Malad Link Road.
Total roads- 54
Digging up of roads affects its upper layers and leads to water seepage which damages the roads.