A whopping 730-plus roads across the city have been dug up at the same time much to the chagrin of Mumbaikars. While citizens are fed up with the inconvenience it has caused, corporators are hell-bent on using all their funds to spruce up roads and take credit for the repair work ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
Civic officials said they had given out contracts for repair work of main roads, but corporators requested them to use up their funds before the end of the financial year for maintenance of small roads. Road department officials from the BMC admit that it is unusual that all requests for road repair work have come at the same time. The result is utter chaos.
“Work taken up by the central agencies was scheduled at different levels. However, the process of tendering, bidding and entrusting contracts finished at the same time, leading to the impression that work is being undertaken at all places at one go,” said a senior official from the road department. He admitted that the department, already under pressure to complete the concretisation and repair work of roads in the city, eastern and western suburbs, was flooded with requests from corporators to carry out work in their wards on an urgent basis.
Chetan Kadam, MNS corporator from Borivli (east), said he was successful in getting the approval for repair work of four major roads in his ward after a lot of persuasion. “This is the first time in 20 years that road repair work is being undertaken in Borivli (east). So far, only patch-up work was carried out, but I was determined to find a long-term solution during my term,” he said. “Asphalt work of the road near Broadway Theatre was completed two days ago; the cement-concretisation of Dattapada Road will be taken up shortly; repair and resurfacing work of another 120-foot road at Siddharth Nagar will also be carried out soon. A part of the Dattapada Road leading to the flyover will also be taken up for repair.”
Congress corporator from Kandivli, Ramashish Gupta, said the widening of Akurli Road in his ward is causing a lot of inconvenience for motorists who want to use the Western Express Highway. “But citizens will have to cooperate as a 60-foot road is being widened to a 90-foot one. It will ensure free flow of traffic in the days to come. I have also requested for work on four more roads in my ward. Work on a cement concrete road at Pramod Tanna Road, which was pending for years, was completed two days ago. Laying of paver blocks at Kamala Nehru Road was also completed two days ago,” Gupta told dna.
Additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas agrees that the simultaneous road repair work is inconveniencing citizens, but says this is being done to ensure better roads for Mumbaikars.
“Roads and gardens are the face of the city and we are doing our best to keep them in the best possible state. Carrying out road repair work in Mumbai is like conducting an open-heart surgery on a person while he is running. The incovenience is temporary; we are taking several measures to complete the work at the earliest,” said Srinivas.
The reasons why all roads are being dug up together is that it’s a fair working season, the permission was obtained on time and the mobilisation of contracts and execution has been a smooth affair. Srinivas said though the volume of work may seem large, kilometre-wise it is far less. “In the second phase we will take up more repair work,” he said.
Mumbaikars will have to bear with dug up roads a bit longer.
Rs483 cr to be spent on concretising roads in western suburbs
Rs72.59 cr will be used for similar road work in the eastern suburbs
Rs97.35 cr will be spent to repair 103 minor roads in the island city
Rs240 cr will be used to carry out asphalt work on 68 roads in town and 43 in eastern suburbs
Rs110 cr will be used for improving 35 junctions