No cure for the pot­hole plague?

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO -

to spec­i­fi­ca­tions. “To­day Perry Road is pot­hole-free while the neigh­bour­ing St An­drews and Me­hboob Stu­dio Road are full of pot­holes,” he pointed out. Many blame the prob­lem to a fault within the sys­tem,say­ing the whole ten­der process re­quires an over­haul. In fact, chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis said last year that the ten­der con­di­tions for se­lect­ing con­trac­tors were tweaked to suit favoured ones, leav­ing even re­puted brands (such as L&T) out of the race. In or­der to show some com­pe­ti­tion, con­trac­tors form a car­tel or in­tro­duce proxy com­pa­nies to bid for the project and gain the ten­der.

A re­puted con­trac­tor who un­der­takes road­works, on the con­di­tion of anonymity, de­fended him­self by say­ing, “We first have to bid be­low the pre­scribed rate and in this, we have to give 10%-20% of the to­tal con­tract price as a bribe. If we fol­low spec­i­fied norms, it turns out to be a loss”. The con­trac­tor claimed bribes have to be paid from top to bot­tom — civic of­fi­cials, the stand­ing com­mit­tee, the ten­der com­mit­tee and even the ac­counts depart­ment.

For­mer mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner DM Sukhtankar said what the city needs is “proper plan­ning where the roads are con­verted to RCC (re­in­forced con­crete ce­ment)”. How­ever, with the level of cor­rup­tion and lack of cred­i­ble mon­i­tor­ing of road con­struc­tion, many are doubt­ful even that would work.

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