A day after the BMC announced a Rs 5,800 crore plan to concretise 400 km roads to make them pothole-resistant, the activists and experts averred that the evasive target could only be achieved if the civic body weeds out corruption as well as dereliction of duties from the road department.
Commenting on the grand plan of concretising roads every year, “A few years back a vigilance committee was set up to inquire about some 40 roads that were found to be of inferior quality. The road department has seen huge corruption, officials are not seen on the field monitoring the road work. So, to get good roads not only concretisation but proper supervision of work is also necessary,” said Nikhil Desai, an activist.
Expressing similar concerns, Agni co-ordinator James John said, “Mumbaikars have been facing pothole menace for more than two decades. Many committees are appointed till now, several technologies are brought to fill potholes. But, the potholes show how corrupt the agencies are. Even concrete roads get cracked if not done properly.”
Hinting at contractors’ nexus, city-based expert Jitendra Gupta said, “Same people are given contracts every time. The BMC should rope up big companies like L&T and others. The potholes are the result of scams in the road department. Transparency and accountability are needed.”
Defending the BMC’s decade-old concrete road policy, the civic official said, “In a city like Mumbai, digging up and repairing all the roads at one go is not possible. So, it’s going to be a long-winding process.”
Nikhil Desai, activist
“The road department has seen huge corruption, officials are not seen on the field. So, to get good roads not only concretisation but proper supervision is also necessary.”
Jitendra Gupta, expert
“Potholes are the result of scams in the road department. Transparency and accountability is needed.”