While pothole-riddled roads are not an uncommon sight in Mumbai, the traffic police taking efforts to fill the craters to prevent accidents and ensure smooth movement of vehicles is a new occurrence.
Potholes and broken manhole covers are a chronic problem on the city roads every monsoon, and they only add to the woes of motorists and two-wheeler riders who are forced to navigate through pockmarked stretches.
This monsoon, however, the traffic police seem to have taken matters into their own hands by taking pictures of the potholes to intimate the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and at times, even filling the craters themselves.
“Potholes affect the movement of vehicles on several roads in the city and to add to the problem, we are forced to divert traffic wherever manhole covers are broken due to plying of heavy vehicles, and place barricades to prevent accidents,” a traffic policeman said.
At times, traffic policemen in uniform can be seen filling the potholes with discarded debris and cement sacks from construction sites just to ensure smooth movement of vehicles. However, this temporary patchwork doesn’t last for more than a couple of days.
An official from the Bandra traffic police said, “We have three major hospitals in our jurisdiction and multiple schools. Manning traffic on potholed roads can be tedious during peak office hours and in evenings. Ambulances and school children are stuck due to the poor condition of roads.”
There is also a rise in accidents involving two-wheelers due to potholes this monsoon, he said. The menace is not only restricted to arterial roads in the suburbs such as Ghatkopar-Mankhurd road, Mohammed Estate junction in Kurla, Marol Naka, Airport road and Andheri-Kurla road, but has also extended to major roads in the city such as DB Marg, Haji Ali junction, Mohammed Ali junction and BPT road.
“At the start of the rainy season itself, we had communicated with the civic body and provided them details about the affected stretches and urged them to repair these to avoid traffic snarls. The civic body and the traffic personnel have been carrying out the pothole-filling exercise on a daily basis,” a senior traffic police official said.
In some places, traffic policemen themselves temporarily fill the craters with whatever material available with them to avoid accidents and traffic jams during peak hours, he said. When contacted, a senior official of the BMC refused to comment on the pothole menace.
(With PTI inputs)