“There have been varying degrees of failure of some bituminous roads in the city which were constructed or renovated two-three months ago. The roads have developed potholes and severe damage to the surface, including melting of surface bitumen. Some roads constructed last year have also developed potholes. This damage has happened after rains for only about 15 days, and that too not very heavy .Problem of potholes is also being faced with older roads,“ the letter stated.
It added that the civic body had decided to carry out a thorough investigation and analyze the problems so that necessary improvements can be made. “Various aspects such as material used, methods adopted, process followed, compliance with applicable technical specifications and codes of practice have to be thoroughly checked reviewed as part of the investigation,“ the letter said.
The PMC had spent crores on asphalting many roads only in May . With the first set of showers, they developed potholes. Activists said that these craters exposed not only the poor material used to build roads but also the tardy work that contractors have executed.
Many commuters complained about vehicles breaking down and bumpy rides that gave them backaches. Waterlogging on concrete roads escalated the problem. Besides the rain creating potholes, the huge number of vehicles on the road also caused many roads to break down and form craters.
Civic activists feel that the study will hardly yield anything as the problem is in imp lementation. “The study and setting up new guidelines will hardly serve any purpose. It is just an eye-wash. The administration has been making roads for 60 years, and now they are trying to check how the roads are to be built. Does it mean that they have been doing it wrongly for so many years?“ founder of Nagari Chetna Manch S C N Jatar said.
He added that if the administration properly implements the guidelines of Indian Road Congress (IRC), the potholes would reduce.
This isn’t the first time that the PMC has carried out an investigation on city roads, activists said. During 2005 and 2006, the roads deteriorated majorly and were ridden with potholes. The monsoon worse ned the thoroughfares, which prompted the civic body to form a standing technical advisory committee (STAC). “The administration has carried out various surveys. It should concentrate more on improving the implementation of roadwork. The guidelines given by the STAC are being designed by experts. Action should have been taken against officials who have not followed them,“ said Vishwash Sahastrabuddhe, a member of Sajag Nagrik Manch.
The civic body has also repeatedly announced various committees to improve quality of roadwork and has promised action against errant contractors. In 2013, then deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar pro msied stringent action against corrupt contractors, but it remained on paper. The PMC also conducted an audit of roads but no one was held accountable.
The civic standing committee also blacklisted contractors for bad roads and asked the civic administration to take action. But nothing happened on the ground, and in fact, activists allege, the same contractors get roadwork every year.
“Till date, not a single contractor has been punished for bad roads. The PMC officials and contractors are hand in gloves. The entire system needs to be revised. Till then, the citizens will continue to suffer,“ Vijay Kumbhar, an activist, said.
Source : TOI