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Unsolved pothole riddle: Pune civic body acts after helpline complaints sink in

While PMC’s 15 road maintenance vehicles are busy clearing potholes, PCMC is accused of inaction.

pune Updated: Jul 22, 2018 16:46 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
After almost a week, the potholes were seen filled by the civic body, giving residents a safer road to commute. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

Rise in number of potholes and bad roads during monsoons have been the arterial issues faced in the city over the years. However, with the onset of monsoons this year, the Pune municipal corporation’s (PMC) road department surveyed approximately 800 potholes across the city.

The civic body has taken serious cognisance of the complaints regarding potholes from residents and has constantly been on the move to repair them, according t o civic officials.

This year, the PMC officials deployed 15 road maintenance vehicles geared with all the necessary equipment for filling up potholes for emergencies. These vehicles mainly tend to the complaints regarding potholes received on the helpline number 020-25501083.

Anirudha Pawaskar, chief of PMC road department, said, “We got 100 to 150 complaints about potholes once we launched the helpline. Most of these were reported from fringe areas where the roads are constructed without a base layer, but directly with bitumen, thus resulting in potholes when exposed to heavy rainfall. We use the cold emulsion treatment, which is a semi solid liquid, to fill potholes. However, it does not work on roads with no proper base. Right now, the PMC cannot do much about potholes on such roads.”

The Pune civic body uses two materials to fill potholes: cold emulsion and dried cement. “In case of cold emulsion, the work is carried out when it is not raining. Lime is used to soak the water content. We then use crushed sand and add cold emulsion into the pothole.

The patch is blocked for at least 20 minutes with barricades so that no vehicle passes over it. We also use a drier version which is a cement ball that is crushed and filled into the pothole. The patch is then rammed or compressed using a roller to level the area,” said Pawaskar.

A team from HT visited various areas of the city that are most vulnerable to potholes. Swargate’s Jedhe chowk is identified as one of the worst roads since the road is filled with potholes every year. However, the civic body managed to cover the large crater on the road overnight.

Meanwhile, PMC workers along with their site engineers were seen filling potholes on the Katraj-Kondhwa road, near Khadi Machine chowk. The Katraj chowk road near Wonder city is filled with sludge and potholes making it difficult for commuters to navigate, while two-wheelers on Navale bridge near Dhayari slowed down traffic movement as they dodged few potholes in their way.

“We face problem sue to potholes almost every year during monsoon and are usually stuck in traffic jams for hours,” said Anand Raje, resident of Dhayari.

Residents of Baner complained that parts of the road with paver blocks are the worst for two-wheeler riders. Manish Prabhu, resident of Baner, said, “Missing paver blocks on roads are the worst kind of potholes as it is difficult to ascertain the depth. There is one such pothole near the new Pancard club road in Baner and we have complained about it to the civic body.”

According to PMC officials, Sinhagad road, Dhayari, Wadgaon, BRT areas of Nagar road which sunk in some places after waterlogging are recurring spots for potholes. They said that we are keeping a close watch on vulnerable spots, like Jedhe chowk in Swargate.

Bumpy rides experienced in Pimpri-Chinchwad

Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation (PCMC) has claimed that 3,406 potholes out of 4,079 have been repaired. However, opposition parties have alleged that potholes were not repaired, and were resulting in hardships for commuters and residents.

When Hindustan Times visited various spots in the city, the team found that with the onset of monsoon, potholes had emerged on many roads across the city, resulting in bumpy rides.

Commuters were irked by the increasing number of potholes, especially on Bhumkar chowk to Tathawade, Kiwale to Nigdi, Bijalinagar to Chinchwad, Pimple Gurav to Pimpri and Dapodi to Nigdi roads.

Neha Jadhav, a resident of Bijlinagar, said, “Travelling from Bijalinagar to Chinchwadgaon is a horrible experience, because after every heavy rainfall, we commuters have to experience bumpy rides. I take almost twice the time to reach my destination.”

Ambadas Chavan, city chief engineer, PCMC, said, “Digging up of roads is the main reason behind potholes. We have repaired almost 84 per cent potholes in the city, of which, we have filled around 2,000 potholes with the help of a jetpatcher machine. Around 673 potholes are yet to be filled.”

Datta Sane, opposition leader in PCMC, said, “PCMC officials are unaware of the ground reality. I have initiated a ‘selfie with potholes’ campaign and received around 500 selfies. That means that there are thousands of potholes in city and they should be repaired immediately.”

As per PCMC officials, the civic body has made Rs 1,259 crore budgetary allocation for constructing new roads and maintaining the existing ones of 1,123 kilometres length in and around the city, but it shows that the PCMC has failed to repair potholes even after the heavy budgetary allocation.

Statistics revealed by the PCMC engineering department shows that there were 4,079 potholes present on roads under all eight zonal offices of PCMC. Statistics shows that the highest number of potholes was present in the C and F zonal office which was 826 and 817 respectively. However, the lowest number of 211 and 249 potholes was present in A and H zonal offices.

(With inputs from Shrinivas Deshpande)

First Published: Jul 22, 2018 16:35 IST