BMC claims Mumbai roads will be ready by June 7, citizens sceptical | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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BMC claims Mumbai roads will be ready by June 7, citizens sceptical

Jun 01, 2024 09:13 AM IST

For the roads that are being concretised, the BMC has announced penalties for work left undone; the remaining portion will be completed by another contractor

MUMBAI: With the monsoon fast approaching, the BMC’s deadline that all roads be motorable by June 7 is on test. While the initial cut-off was May 31, a week’s leeway has been given to contractors, and a promise doled out to residents that no inconvenience will be faced due to roads stuck midway through concretisation. As is the case in every monsoon, the corporation will once again be on trial.

Mumbai, India - May 31, 2024: Under construction road at Kakasaheb Gadgil marg, Dadar West in Mumbai, India, on Friday, May 31, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - May 31, 2024: Under construction road at Kakasaheb Gadgil marg, Dadar West in Mumbai, India, on Friday, May 31, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

For the roads that are being concretised, the BMC has announced stringent penalties for any work left undone; the remaining portion will be completed by another contractor with asphalting and the cost recovered from the defaulting contractor over and above a penalty levied on it.

“We have been sensitising the road contractors since the middle of April, so we are confident that no inconvenience will be suffered by citizens,” said Abhijit Bangar, additional municipal commissioner in charge of projects. “We have been visiting the sites and warning them of the deadline for a while now. A final inspection was done on Tuesday by assistant engineers of every ward, when the decision whether the contractor should be replaced was taken based on the status and speed of the road work.”

Bangar said the BMC was most concerned about seven roads in the R Central, R South and R North wards where the work was slow. “But it appears that our warning has worked,” he said. “The contractor has restarted the work and promised he will finish it by June 7. Elsewhere, most contractors are on track to meet the deadline.”

For roads which have not yet been completely concreted, the engaged contractor will have the option to make the road motorable using asphalt by June 7, and then resuming the concretising after the monsoon. If he does not do so, the work will be given to a different contractor, and the cost will be recovered from the first contractor in addition to a penalty. On Friday, Bangar inspected the Eastern Express Highway and JVLR as well as roads in Chembur, Ghatkopar and Kurla.

With this, 25% of the concretising work of the first phase of Mumbai’s roads, covering 397 km, has been completed. Bangar said that permissions for trenching were stopped by the end of April. “We have been very strict about not giving any more permissions,” he said. “The only exception is approval for emergency works.”

Despite these reassurances, however, citizens dealing with incomplete road work around the city have flagged many instances and raised doubts if the work will be done and ready when the monsoon arrives. “Roads have been dug up in every corner of the city for concretising,” said Karan Jotwani, co-founder of the Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizens Association. “The BMC should have planned in advance and completed its work by now. It should have set May 15 as the completion date, so that even in the event of a delay, it would be over by now.”

Jotwani added that a heavy monsoon had been predicted this year, and roads were likely to be flooded. “People could fall into the incomplete work trenches,” he said. “It is a good thing that the roads are being concretised, but it should have been planned better.”

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