In a rush to meet their deadlines, more and more road contractors are rampantly using paver blocks to finish repair works.
While N V Merani, the chairman of the scientific and technical advisory committee, had proscribed the re-laying of main roads with paver blocks since they don’t last long, many contractors had used them to complete works before the onset of monsoon.
“They have been using paver blocks on many asphalt roads. While one-half of such roads is re-laid with asphalt, the other half is patched up with paver blocks,” alleges Bhalchandra Shirsat, former corporator and leader of the BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.”
Shirsat argues that cement concrete roads and major roads which were approved for repair works by the roads department a year ago have all been laid with paver blocks. He adds that instead of pulling up errant contractors who had failed to meet their deadline earlier, the civic body has increased their allocation under the new budget.
The roads department is quick to switch to the firefighting mode. It says the laying of paver blocks was an “an easier and faster option”. “As the deadline was nearing, the contractors were warned of leaving any work unattended. So the quicker way out of it was to lay paver blocks. We will ensure that the contractors complete their work as per the agreement and contract conditions after the monsoon,” reasons an engineer from the roads department.
Nikhil Desai, a civic activist from Wadala, cites the example of major roads like RAK Marg, and those at King Circle, Sion Circle and Matunga being laid with paver blocks.
James John, a member of AGNI, a citizens’ organisation, from Andheri (E), says if one paver block pops out, others follow suit.