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Open manholes: HC orders survey of roads across all wards in Mumbai | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday directed a joint survey of roads in all 24 civic wards of Mumbai to ascertain whether the BMC has placed covers on over one lakh manholes. The survey will be conducted by the ward officer and an advocate-commissioner to be appointed by the court.

A report has to be submitted after 3 weeks. Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor were hearing a contempt petition by advocate Ruju Thakker on non-compliance of the HC’s 2018 judgment on a PIL on the bad condition of roads.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare representing the BMC and civic chief Iqbal Chahal blamed “unusually heavy rains” for potholes. Sakhare said BMC, in the last 10 days, attended to 59,000 pothole complaints. Sakhare said the corporation has completed concretisation of 1,148 km out of 2,050 km of road length. He said work on 502 km is on and another 450 km will be completed in the next 3 years. He said 175 km of additional roads are under other agencies.

“Sometime citizens don’tknow which roads are looked after by the Corporation…therefore the BMC is told “pothole issue is yours.” The CJ said, “You must have done ‘n’ kms. Fact remains the roads are not in good condition. Everyday there is some incident reported in the newspapers.” With reference to BMC’s data, the CJ said he was a student of statistics “I was taught that there are three types of lies — lies, damned lies and statistics,” he said.Thakker said, “Let them point out one road in the city that is motorable.” Activist Zoru Bhathena said “all roads repaired for G20 survived” and it depends on “their (BMC) will to make it happen.”Sakhare said on September 30, 2022, HC had directed the State to consider Chahal’s suggestion to hand over all roads to the BMC for coordination and maintenance. The judges questioned why no decision had been taken almost a year later.
“A simple executive decision was to be taken…Providing safe roads to citizens is as much your responsibility as civic body,” the CJ said. The State advocate P Kakade sought time to take instructions. BMC claimed it has covered all manholes. Sakhare said protective grilles are placed on 6,308 manholes in flood-prone areas out of 1,00,286 manholes. He said by May 2024, all manholes will have protective grilles. But Thakker contested the claim showing photos of open manholes on Eastern Express Highway. The judges then mooted a ward-wise joint inspection. They requested Kakade to “please convey the concern of the court to the State.” “This is man-made. A pedestrian or a cyclist falling into a manhole. The cause of these deaths is not natural or an accident. You have a Constitutional duty under Article (Right to Life) and also an obligation under various statutes… All this is not an exercise to be done by the court. Why should we waste our time doing your job?” the CJ asked. The judges directed the State to reply to BMC’s proposal for handing over all roads to it.
They also directed Thane collector to conduct a probe into the death of Mohnish Khan (37) who died after his bike went over a pothole on Ghodbunder Road (reported by TOI on July 6). Senior advocate Ram Apte, for TMC, said the accident area does not fall under its jurisdiction. The judge directed Kakade to verify the statement made by TMCC.



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