Mumbai’s Annual Roadshow Is Back!


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Mumbai, 12th September, 2014: Mumbai, the financial capital, the city of dreams, the urban lifestyle donner, the city that never sleeps! So much to describe one city! Little things make up an image of this lively city. However, off lately, Mumbai has been known for its pothole horror; and it’s not a matter of pride. Every monsoon Mumbai puts up its “annual road show” with its huge craters on the streets of constant hustle-bustle.

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We recently bid farewell to Lord Ganesha. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi throws spotlight on the pitiable conditions of the roads in the city. The pothole-ridden roads pose a problem on the arrival as also on the day of ‘visarjan’. And yet, every year it’s the same scenario- incomplete jobs, bumpy rides for all Ganesh mandals. The Ganesh mandals however seek piecemeal solutions to be dished out by the road authorities that would be permanent. As of July 15, 2110 potholes were reported this year on the pothole tracking system at different locations. That definitely is an enormous number; an alarming indication of the civic body’s failure in learning lessons despite of continued public criticism and judicial intervention!

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          The BMC (BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation) seems to have bitten off more than it can chew! It already missed its May 20 deadline of road work completion. With 25th May as the new deadline declared, officials complained of not having enough time because of delay in clearing of proposals. The BMC has now sparked a fear of flooding and traffic snarls in the prevailing season. Out of 967 contracts only 164 being complete, the remaining 320 were still in the work-in-progress mode, which obviously states that the work over them would be done after monsoons. The civic body has established a portal “www.voiceofcitizen.com” where road engineers are expected to upload photos of every pothole. The details of each crater is then fed to process the payment for contractors accordingly and it also automates the penalty in case of breach of the 48hour deadline for repair. Citizens can also make use of this website and show their participation towards the betterment of plying roads they use.

The BMC has been collecting Rs.1058 crores as service tax over the past 3 years. After octroi, property tax, which includes service tax is BMC’s second largest source of income. In this year alone, it expects to make about Rs.3956 crore as property tax that includes street tax. The Mumbaiites have been paying taxes, however they do not receive any good result. In a certain ward in Mumbai, the road officials recorded no potholes. But the ground reality was that 40 potholes were intact there. A few years back, we had 4 contractors blacklisted for a gamble of Rs.4crore. But even this being the case, the BMC believes in rewarding its contractors with more work even if the results they give are substandard. According to the data accessed, only 10 contractors have been bagging road contracts, despite of being fined for poor work in the previous years. Most of the tenders are rigged or drafted in such a way that only few firms get eligible to make contracts. Rather than punishing them for poor work, the BMC awards them with new projects! Why don’t they blacklist these agencies? The public money is sheerly wasted irresponsibly.

The jurisdiction squabbles and leaves the potholes intact. Potholes reappear and get resurfaced! With an intention to complete the work at ease, paver blocks or gravestones are used to fill the craters. The shoddy and quick fix jobs of road authorities with poor quality material and untested technology are exposed after the first few showers of rain itself. This really makes us wonder whether the three jet-patcher systems or proper cold mixes are really used!

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         Monsoon tests the level of corruption in Public Works. The height and width of potholes replicate those of corruption. Potholes are the deadliest nightmares in monsoons. When they get resurfaced with rainwater, it’s either a claiming a pedestrian’s life or piling up vehicles whose drivers try to avoid them! With jokes being circulated on social networking sites about these potholes, aren’t we mocking our own system? Well, if we’re that fed up with the lazy, prolonged job of the BMC, why don’t we stand up and take the responsibility for the roads we use? Well, after paying huge sums of taxes , it’s not that easy as blaming the BMC! But it’s high time that Mumbai needs citizens who solve their problems in unity and take action against those who do not co-operate! So let’s just hope that we Mumbaikars don’t have to undergo appalling troubles of potholes in the coming years atleast! But till then. WATCH OUT! Look LEFT RIGHT and BENEATH YOUR FEET! There might be a pothole waiting for you! Your possible GRAVE!

 

 

APURVA CHAVAN

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BMS Team aims to help the BMS students all over Mumbai colleges, empower BMSites and revolutionize management education. If you wish to be a part of our core team, write to contact@bms.co.in

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BMS Team aims to help the BMS students all over Mumbai colleges, empower BMSites and revolutionize management education. If you wish to be a part of our core team, write to contact@bms.co.in

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