The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) helpline, where residents can call up to get potholes repaired, received only 11 calls in October. Citizens’ groups say most probably, people are not calling up the helpline because they don’t believe it will solve their problems.
Every year, the PMC spends crores of rupees to repair the pothole ridden roads and maintaining and developing new roads after the monsoon is over.
When the helpline was started, the civic authorities had promised that the complaints about potholes will be attended to within 24 hours of the receipt of the call. During monsoon, it is difficult for the road department to fill up potholes or repair roads. However, once the monsoon is over, the civic body undertakes a major drive to repair the roads and tries to involve citizens by getting their feedback. However, in October, only 11 citizens recorded their complaints about potholes with the civic authorities as several small roads have developed potholes.
Founder of Baner Citizens’ Forum, Ashok Thombare, said, “The civic authorities received a lukewarm response from the citizens because they might have fed up with the response they get from the PMC. Many a time, the common man calls up the PMC on its helpline but no action is taken. Hence, people do not call it,’’ he said.
“Our forum had requested the PMC several times to get the area cleaned and fumigated because of dengue and malaria scare. The civic personnel, who visited our area for fumigation, said they could not visit the area on time due to staff crunch,” he added.
Member of Kothrud Citizens’ Forum, Devdatta Patankar, said, “Several city roads are concretised and we could not spot any potholes on these roads. But when the PMC launches a helpline for citizens to help them to register their complaints, we need to see whether the helpline is operational.” He added, “Since people have apathy, they may have preferred to keep away from the helpline.” Executive engineer (road) ND Gambhire said, “This year, due to less rain, there were few potholes and we have taken action whenever we have received the calls. Also, many a times, our junior engineers spot potholes and get them repaired immediately.”