Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday told the state assembly that the entire road network of Mumbai will be concretised within two years to prevent the formation of potholes, especially during the monsoon. Incessant showers in the city contribute to poor road conditions during the rainy season, leaving commuters in the lurch.
Shinde said the BMC had invited tenders for the concretisation of 603-km network of roads in the city. The project is to cost Rs 5,800 crore. “Work on road concretisation has started on priority after we gave directions that during the rains, potholes should not be found even if one searches for them," Shinde reportedly said.
The BMC said it has floated five tenders for the project, and that the contract will go to companies dealing with highway construction at state or national level. No partnerships between firms will be allowed, it added. While releasing the tenders, the BMC had said the roads will be constructed with cement, and it was “confident” that all Mumbai roads will be “free of potholes” in the next two years.
According to reports, the new roads will have “unique features” such as separate underground passage for utility service channels, rainwater catchment pits, and CCTV cameras.
The chief minister has promised to make the state capital free of potholes. To this measure, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has also come up with a plan to slap a fine of Rs 2,000 if Ganpati mandals are not careful while erecting pandals during the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The civic body will be keeping an eye on the mandals so that these pandals are not erected by digging up roads, which can cause potholes to appear on the road once they are removed.
Days ago, the CM had conducted a review of the condition of roads in the city and his decision to concretise roads within a short period of time is being seen as a significant move ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
The BMC has received over 25,000 complaints of potholes in the last five months. Earlier on August 20, the Bombay High Court said it will assign a bench for hearing a case for grievances about potholes on roads in Maharashtra.
The BMC, too, has played around with different filling solutions for potholes. Civic officials said there were two methods that had shown desired results — use of geopolymer concrete technology and rapid hardening concrete method.
According to data from the ministry of road transport and highways, the total number of road accident deaths in India due to potholes in 2018, 2019 and 2020 stood at 2,015, 2,140 and 1,471, respectively.