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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CRATER MUMBAI Rain disrupts road, rail, air travel

BMC's firm steps fail to fill potholes, 66 still in open

    Despite Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation talking tough this season, contractors seem to be undeterred. Data accessed by TOI indicates that till June-end, 66 overdue cases have been reported. These are cases where the contractor has failed to repair the potholes within the 48-hour deadline imposed by the civic body. Unlike last year, penalty provisions have been included in the tender conditions but this has failed to instill fear among the contractors. 
    Under the new pothole tracking system developed by Probity Soft, the penalty bills are also generated online. After the potholes are assigned 

to the contractors by the subengineers, the contractors are initially given a 24-hour deadline. In case, the contractors are unable to fill the potholes due to heavy rain or other "genuine reasons", another 24-hour deadline is given to the contractors. Failing to stick to the final deadline, the civic body penalizes the errant contractors by imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 per pothole per day. Last year, there was no clear mention of the penalty in the tender conditions. Civic officials would visit the site after the contractors would finish filling the potholes. "Last year, it was as per the whims and fancies of the engineers who would come and inspect the site. They would hand us lump some penalty challans. This time, it is a transparent system," said a contractor. 
    Admitting that there are 
overdues despite penalty conditions, Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, said, "It's is a transparent system where there are no chances of duplication. Strict instructions have been passed to the officials concerned. Contractors are supposed to complete the work in 48 hours. The penalty is almost five times higher than last time." 
    The maximum number of overdue cases is in P-South (Goregaon). While the contractors have been assigned 99 
potholes, only 70 have been attended with 28 overdue cases. Similarly, K-East (Jogeshwari) and K-West (Juhu) have 14 overdue cases. Aftab Siddiqui, member of Linking Road Residents' Association, said, "If the fine is only Rs 1,000 it will do little to scare the contractors. The fine should be double the amount it takes to repair the pothole. Unless strict action is taken against the erring contractors, the city will continue to suffer from potholed roads."

Civic body pulls up supplier 
    The BMC has given one of the cold-mix technology suppliers' 14-day ultimatum to improve the condition of the work. This monsoon, the civic body had selected three cold-mix technology suppliers--Wonderpatch, Road Bond and Patchmaker. "Of the three, 
we have given 14 days time only to Shaunak Infrastructure as we found significant problems with their work. We have asked to them to improve their work or else no additional work will be given to them," additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said. 
    "We have made small changes in the additive doses," said a senior official of Shaunak Infrastructure. —Shawan Sen

DERAILED: Workers filling up the track after seepage of soil following cable works near Kopri flyover saw Central Railway services getting affected on Wednesday

FACING THE FURY: People negotiating waterlogged streets in Bhandup as rain continued to hit normal life in city on Wednesday


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