Mumbai: In a heated 90-minute debate at the Standing Committee meeting held on Wednesday, corporators from both the parties criticised coldmix, a ‘home-made’ version of the newest technology to fill potholes, and lambasted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not acting swiftly on the pothole issue.
In a point of order raised by leader of the Opposition, Ravi Raja, besides complaining about potholes, said coldmix has been a complete letdown. All the corporators acceded to the allegation. “The coldmix is an absolute failure. Rs 125 crore have been spent, or rather wasted, on the proposal of this concoction, deeming it as a foolproof method. And we don’t even know what is in the mix,” said Raja, adding, “The additional municipal commissioner (AMC) had given a deadline of 48 hours to fill potholes and he himself was not available (on Sunday), saying it was a holiday. Are we joking with Mumbaikars?”
Raja further added that the road engineers claimed there were only 300 potholes in the entire city. “And they claim 70 per cent have been taken care of. If we go by the engineer’s statement, there are only 90 potholes remaining in the city,” he wondered. Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator from Bandra, said the coldmix doesn’t hold even for a couple of days. “If we used it yesterday to fill potholes, we cannot see the mix the next day. Not only that, there were also places where the potholes are filled with paver blocks,” he said. Shiv Sena corporator Mangesh Satamkar said the administration should not give such fictitious and impossible deadlines which will ultimately come to haunt them.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) group leader Manoj Kotak said they are answerable to the taxpayers of the city and the voters hold them accountable for the administration’s failure. “Even the roads which were repaired on Priority 1 basis are washed away in the monsoon. What is more appalling is that there were some places which used hotmix (these were VIP roads) instead of coldmix. Why this difference?” asked Kotak.
Vijay Singhal, AMC (Roads and Repairs), said the coldmix was used this year since it was successful last year. “The mix from Israel and Austria was successful so we decided to make it in by ourselves and save money. Around 320 metric tonnes of coldmix have been sent to all the wards. Besides, we do not give coldmix to contractors; it is only for BMC department. Contractors have to get their own mix, be it cold or hot,” he said.
However, corporators claimed they did not receive any material. “If 320 tonnes are sent across 24 wards, the average is around 13 tonnes for each ward, besides private contractors using their own concoction. Forget about 13 tonnes, we have not received even one tonne of coldmix,” said Sanjay Ghadi, Shiv Sena corporator from Borivli (E). Standing Committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav said, “The administration will come up with answers every time we throw questions at them. It is useless. They should suo motu come out and say we repudiate the contract of coldmix and offer an alternative immediately.”
Jadhav concluded by saying committee members will visit the coldmix manufacturing plant on Saturday to check what goes into its manufacture.