'Can’t Monitor Every Road Accident Due To Pothole, It Is BMC’s Responsibility': Bombay High Court Slams Civic Body

'Can’t Monitor Every Road Accident Due To Pothole, It Is BMC’s Responsibility': Bombay High Court Slams Civic Body

The court also expressed surprise with the fact that despite spending Rs 273 crore for filing id the potholes last monsoon, several potholes still existed on roads.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 02:37 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Exasperated with monitoring every road accident which is caused due to potholes, the Bombay High Court on Monday said that ultimately it is the responsibility of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure that citizens get motorable roads and pedestrian friendly footpaths.

The court also expressed surprise with the fact that despite spending Rs 273 crore for filing id the potholes last monsoon, several potholes still existed on roads.

“Monitoring every single road accident, pothole is becoming difficult. Ultimately It is their (BMC) responsibility,” a bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said.

The high court was hearing a contempt petition filed by advocate Ruju Thakker seeking contempt action to be initiated against the civic authorities for failing to implement the high court orders of 2018 directing the repair of potholes along all arterial roads in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.

When the court remarked that the BMC affidavit highlighted that it spent Rs273 crore last monsoon for filling of the potholes and still the conditions of the roads was much left to be desired, the BMC counsel Anil Sakhare said that it would be taken of after the city roads are concretised.

“Mr Sakhare just see the money spent by you in pothole filling… Your affidavit says you spent Rs273 crore last yet to attend to potholes..” the CJ said.

Sakhare said that the process of concretisation is on and the contact said that default liability (of the contractor) will be for a period of ten years. This means in case there is damage to the road within the ten years of concretising the road, the contractor will have to fix the same without additional charges.

“Once it is completed (concretisation work), the problem will be solved,” insisted Sakhare.

As per the BMC affidavit, of the total 2,050 km roads in the city, 1,224 km roads have been concretised and work on 356 km of roads is in progress. It recently floated tender for 389 km of roads since it had to terminate contract of the contractor due to “unsatisfactory work”.

“Concretising progress of work is within stipulate period of time..,” the affidavit emphasised. It added: “I therefore state that the allegation that only 5% of the roads in Mumbai are concretised is false and even as far as the Phase I is concerned the said allegations are not true as on date.”

On December, the HC had sought reply from the BMC on the indigent of a biker falling in an non-barricaded 15-feet pit in Powai, while trying to save a minor. The incident took place on November 30 in Phule Nagar in Powai. Hiran Kanojia, 35, reportedly had to undergo three-four surgeries to recover from the fall.

On Monday, Thakker pointed out that the BMC affidavit states that the where the biker fell is “apparently” a navy road.

She pointed out photographs in the media which showed a big drain dug up outside a suburban school since December. Also, several Senior citizen have tripped on a footpath in Malad which have uneven surface. Also, the footpaths are not disabled friendly, she pointed out.

The high court has asked Thakker to file her reply affidavit to the corporation’s affidavit and kept thr matter for hearing on April 15.

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