The BMC has decided to skip the "time-consuming" process of taking an NOC (No-Objection Certificate) from the traffic police for pre-monsoon road repair works.
Of the total 2,000-km road network in city, 1,940 km fall in BMC's jurisdiction. Before undertaking any repairs and relaying, it is supposed take permission from the traffic police, so that the latter can make arrangements to avoid jams and inconvenience to motorists.
Roads department officials said the process of getting an NOC from the traffic police adds to the delay in starting repairs. Also, in many cases, the traffic police give permission to carry out repairs on only a small section instead of the complete stretch.
On February 27, additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, also in-charge of the roads department, sent a letter to joint commissioner of police (traffic) Milind Bharambe, informing him about the civic body's move.
The letter (a copy of which is with mid-day) stated that the BMC has planned to carry out repair work on more than 500 roads and junctions. "We have identified some important stretches that need to be repaired before the monsoon to avoid potholes and bad patches. Such works will take three to 10 days and work will be carried out at night. If the repairs are not completed on time, we will have to face citizens' ire..." it added.
Citing the MMC (Mumbai Municipal Corporation) Act's 289 (3) (if a road is in civic body's jurisdiction, the municipal commissioner has the power to close it partially or completely for repair work by taking permission from the general body) and a pending petition in the Bombay HC related to road issues, the civic body has informed the traffic police that it won't wait for the NOC and will just inform them.
A senior official from the roads department said, "In the last three months, the traffic police have rejected or withheld NOCs to carry out repairs on more than 150 roads. They have also not allowed us to work on the whole stretch at a time, citing jams as the reason. All this delays the work."
Citizen activist Nikhil Desai from Matunga has raised concern over the deteriorating roads due to the tussle between the BMC and traffic police. "The Dadar TT circle and a patch next to Gandhi Market in Sion are classic examples of long-pending repair works due to traffic permission. Repair of both stretches had been proposed two years back, yet the traffic police have not given permission for the same."
"This monsoon, both stretches could face potholes and flooding as their condition is very bad," he added.
Chief engineer (road and traffic) department Sanjay Darade was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.
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