Crater Mumbai: 90% of potholes filled, says BMC. Really?
Mumbai civic body’s self-imposed 48-hour deadline to fill potholes ended on Tuesday, but it remained non-committal about where the potholes had been fixed.Updated: Jul 18, 2018 14:21 IST
As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) self-imposed 48-hour deadline to fill potholes ended on Tuesday, civic officials said 90% potholes in the city had been filled. Where? They won’t tell.
On Thursday, additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal promised to fix all potholes within 48 hours, a deadline which was later extended as civic officials said it meant 48 working hours, in case there is a dry spell in the next two days. Some interpreted it as the next 48 working hours. Singhal later clarified the deadline was only to put pressure on officers and contractors, so the work is carried out.
Vinod Chithore, chief engineer (roads) and Singhal on Tuesday said more than 90% of the potholes have been filled. Chithore said, “Almost all potholes have been filled. How can I give the exact figures when the work is still on?”
BMC gets pothole-related complaints through the disaster management number 1916, 24x7 toll free number 1800221293 and ward-wise WhatsApp numbers. This monsoon, however, the civic body has stopped releasing data on potholes. “We are not counting potholes because there is no mechanism to count potholes. For example, if there are two potholes nearby then how do you count those potholes? As one or as two,” asked Singhal.
Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, WatchDog Foundation, which fights for civil rights, said, “First, they set an impossible deadline and then they refuse to give out the data. The data which they give out is anyway an understatement of the reality. I bet there are definitely more than a thousand potholes on Mumbai’s roads.”
AGNI activist James John from Andheri said, “K-East has the most number of complaints, this is because the Andheri-Kurla link road sees a lot of traffic. There are heavy vehicles and many industrial areas such as SEEPZ-Andheri MIDC, which lead to more potholes and other problems.”
In 2017, the civic body completely stopped counting potholes as the commissioner believed the they should concentrate on repairing roads rather than counting potholes. In 2015, they had a third-party system, where Mumbaiites could complain about potholes and civic engineers were directed to attend those complaints within 24 hours or face penalty. Prior to that, in 2011, the civic body started a pothole-tracking website which was discontinued soon and the BMC took it upon itself to release pothole complaints.