To ensure accountability in the quality and maintenance of newly built roads, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now levy double penalty on contractors who fail to repair potholes on roads that are under the defect liability period (DLP). A circular to this effect, issued by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte earlier this month, states that if a contractor does not repair potholes on a road built by him falling under the DLP, the appointed repair works contractors will carry out the work and demand twice the amount spent on repairs from him.
The DLP for asphalt roads is three years while that of concrete roads is five years. This means, the contractor who has built the road is responsible of maintaining it free of cost during this period. Officials from the road department admitted that these contractors try to evade handling of repairs and push the responsibility onto contractors who are specifically appointed for road repairs. Chief engineer (roads) G Agarwal said from this season onwards, the use of computer-based pothole-tracking system coupled with this new circular will ensure that a major chunk of roads are repaired on time.
If the DLP contractor fails to repair a bad stretch within 48 hours, the existing repairs contractors will carry out the repair and the DLP contractor will be liable to pay him twice the amount spent by him, said Agarwal.
Currently, the contractors are fined Rs 1,000 per pothole per day. In the case of DLP roads, the contractors in all likelihood will be penalised twice the amount. The BMC has 1,243 DLP roads, of which 335 are in the island city, 570 in the western suburbs and 338 in the eastern suburbs.