Mumbai: The pitter-patter of rain throughout the week meant only one thing for Mumbaikars, the dread of treading into potholes on every known road and getting caught in the ensuing traffic jams, caused by bumper-to-bumper traffic. Saturday witnessed a monotonous replay with areas like Malad and Kandivali caught in the madness. Snarl-ups were seen on Western Express Highway, SV Road and Linking Road.
The dense traffic on south bound artery of WEH from Dahisar to Jogeshwari added to the gloom. It saw many Mumbaikars take refuge in social media platforms to share their angst and utter disgust. But BMC officials chose to brush the issue under the carpet stating that the problem of potholes is intertwined with Mumbai getting heavy rain which leads to waterlogging.
"Mumbai is a place with a horrible traffic management; to make it worse, the roads are full of potholes. It to took me 150 minutes to traverse 11 km. I wish I had taken a walk, I would have reached earlier. People who wish to use Mumbai Western Highway better stay where they are, " tweeted Sandeep Rajapati on Saturday.
Similarly, Dhiraj Mishra tweeted, "There is huge traffic from Andheri to Kandivali on WEH, a 10-12km stretch takes 1.30-2.0 hrs. Never seen this kind of traffic for ages”.
"On Saturday we saw a continuous flow of vehicles – there were around 20-25 percent extra vehicles on the road than usual," said Somnath Gharge, Deputy commissioner of traffic (Western suburbs).
Dhaval Shah, a Andheri resident and founder of Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen's Association (LOCA), said that potholes in Andheri (West) start re-appearing within an hour of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials filling them up.
"The BMC workers use the process of manual compaction for filling the potholes, as many wards don't have a road roller of their own. This is the richest civic body in the country and every ward office should be provided with a road roller. Unless they update their technique, the problem will persist," said Shah.
Asif Zakaria, senior Congress corporator from Bandra (West), blamed the quality of fillings used by the BMC. "The BMC uses coal mix and hot mix for filling the potholes and the quality of work done is very inferior. Unless the administration does quality work, the situation will not improve," said Zakaria.
An Andheri based NGO - Watchdog Foundation – has written to the BMC administration and said that if potholes are not filled immediately, its members will do the needful themselves. "We will fill the potholes and plant a sapling which will have the names of the errant BMC officials,’’ said Godfrey Pimenta, a trustee of the association.
The BMC has its own website -- - www.mybmcpotholefixit.com -- for recording public grievances. However, it is alleged that the website is slow and often crashes. "It becomes really troublesome for us, when it comes to lodging complaints," Zakaria said.
Aneesh Naval Makwaney, BJP corporator from Juhu, said that nearly 22 roads in his constituency are scarred with potholes. "I have sent a list of the roads to the engineers of the roads department and sought immediate intervention," Makwaney said.
Bhalchandra Shirsat, another senior corporator from the BJP and spokesperson of the party in the BMC, said that he will bring up the issue of pothole filling in the standing committee election next week.
Shiv Sena corporator Milind Vaidya said that even if the proposal of redeveloping the roads is proposed by corporators, many of these do not get sanctioned owing to Covid budgetary constraints.A senior BMC official, however, said that the issue of potholes was being addressed immediately by the local wards as soon as they receive complaints.
"The roads are maintained by multiple agencies and many of the them don’t fall under BMC; still, whenever we receive a complaint we do the basic filling and inform the responsible agency about it," the official said.
"Mumbai is a city that receives heavy rainfall throughout the year which in return causes waterlogging. The problem of pothole is connected because as long as there are heavy rains, part of roads will get washed away," the official added.
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