The Bombay High Court ordered the senior officials of the BMC, MMRDA, MSRDC, Mumbai Police and the PWD, on Monday, to appear before the court on the next hearing to address the issue of potholes and have a solid solution to the problem. A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P R Bora was hearing a suo motu PIL taken up on the issue of potholes which was a letter written by Justice Gautam Patel of the HC in 2015. The next hearing along with the representatives of various departments will be held on March 10 at 3.30 pm.
Justice Kanade said,
“Despite several orders passed by the court, there has not been any progress made by the concerned authorities in addressing the issue. The number of potholes have increased since last monsoon and several motorists have died because of potholes and uneven roads.”
Anil Sakhare, a senior Advocate representing the BMC, advised the court that since a number of departments are responsible for maintaining the roads, a need for better co-ordination was needed.
“Work on roads is ongoing. On an urgent basis, BMC is undertaking repair work across 94 critical roads and junctions. Over 900 other roads will be attended after April. We have also blacklisted 21 contractors who were responsible for irregularities in road work and tainted officials have been suspended and FIRs have also been registered against them.”
Justice Kanade said the High Court was also informed about the challenges faced to repair the roads considering that Mumbai roads are one of the most crowded roads in the world. The advocates for intervenors who regularly travel through the city roads told the court that repaired roads kept getting dug up.
“Post monsoon, condition of roads gets worse. Road repairs in the city should be taken up on a war-footing and cannot be taken up in a superficial level.” Detailing the lack of coordination between various departments such as BMC, MMRDA, PWD, Bombay Port Trust, MSRDC and the traffic police, the judge said, “We direct all the high-ranking officials from these departments including the joint commissioner of the Mumbai traffic police to remain present in the next hearing with details on concrete steps they plan to take to ensure proper coordination between the departments and a permanent solution to address the problem of potholes.”