Did BMC’s Rs 4,678.5 crore go down the drain?
The civic body’s data shows that its two departments – stormwater drains, and roads and traffic – have utilised 87.66% of the money allotted to them in the annual budgets of 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.Updated: Jun 15, 2019 05:32 IST
How much money is needed to ensure pothole-free roads and a flooding-free monsoon? Going by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) standards, even Rs 4,678.5 crore spent over three years is not enough.
The civic body’s data shows that its two departments – stormwater drains, and roads and traffic – have utilised 87.66% of the money allotted to them in the annual budgets of 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.
While the stormwater drains department used the money to clean underground drains, water entrances on road side, laterals; desilt nullahs, augment drains, and construct new drains, the roads department carried out repairs, resurfaced roads, fixed potholes using cold mix or hot mix, and improved traffic junctions.
Nikhil Desai, who works with AGNI, a citizens’ group working for better governance, said, “The amount BMC says it has spent is incredible. The condition of roads and the fact that Mumbai floods prove that work is not done properly or is substandard. There are potholes on roads year after year. The number of dewatering pumps is increasing, but so are the waterlogging spots. If they are spending so much money, all this should reduce.”
Between June 2018 and June 2019, the BMC recorded complaints of 4,785 potholes, of which it claims to have attended to 4,531 complaints. Similarly, for the monsoon of 2019, the BMC has listed 273 flooding-prone spots, of which it claims to have tackled 178.
The roads and traffic department, over three years, spent Rs 2,790.39 crore of its total budget. The stormwater drains department spent Rs 1,888.11 crore of its total budget between April 2016 and March 2019.
Moreover, the money spent by the roads department has seen a drastic increase of Rs 639.65 crore from 2016-17 to 2017-18. It recorded an increase of Rs 152.3 crore in money spent from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
The storm water drains department recorded an increase of Rs 129.99 crore in the money spent from 2016-17 to 2017-18. It saw a rise of rs 221.19 crore from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi said, “We are always working on improving roads, and our stormwater drains system. What we need to look at are comparative figures, of increase in the expenditure vis-a-vis improvement in quality of roads and stormwater drains, or the decrease in potholes and waterlogging”
Rais Shaikh, leader of the Samajwadi Party in BMC, said, “The quality of work should improve. The BMC also needs to work on supervision. Currently, the work is left to contractors, which is why same problems recur.”