No cure for the pothole plague?
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.