Mumbai: Even after spending crores for over five years on reconstruction of roads in Mumbai, potholes continue to trouble commuters in the financial city of the country.
"It's a nightmare to drive on Mumbai roads," says one of the commuters. "BMC hasn't done anything over the years to improve the condition of Mumbai roads," adds another commuter.
Since 2008, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has spent a whopping Rs 3,800 crore in reconstruction of roads. For potholes and spot repairs, the municipal corporation has spent Rs 336 crore in the last five years. But with no improvement seen on the roads, the people are questioning where all the money is going.
For over a decade now, six companies - RP Shah, Relcon Infrastructure, Prakash Engineers, Vitrag Construction, J Kumar and KR Constructions have been bagging the contracts for road repairing but despite the situation not improving, the government has not tried to pass the contract to other companies.
"The pre-condition is designed for the six contractors. The political class does not have the guts to confront them. They have backing from Mantralaya and BMC," Standing committee member Rais Shaikh alleged.
The potholes have also claimed a life recently. The Shinde family, which resides in Mumbai suburbs of Andheri, are still in shock after their eldest son, 28-year-old civil engineer Umesh, was killed when his two wheeler hit a six inch pothole on the Western Express Highway. Despite wearing a hemlet, Umesh sustained injuries and was declared dead on arrival at hospital.
"We thought we should buy asphalt and go fill the potholes ourselves. My brother died, I don't want anybody else to meet the same fate," Umesh's brother Sujit Shinde said.
The Shinde house that saw week-long celebration only two months ago when Umesh tied the knot is now struggling to come to terms with his death.
While the distraught family is yet to make up its mind about filing a case, the civic activists and legal experts say a case like this merits not just a civil action but even criminal prosecution.