Pune, 4th June 2023: In a bid to address the long-standing issue of potholes on state highways, the public works department (PWD) of Maharashtra has introduced the Pothole Complaint Redressal System (PCRS), an online platform where citizens can report road conditions and upload images of damaged roads. The system aims to improve the efficiency and transparency of the complaint process, ensuring prompt action from officials.
During a meeting with PWD officials in Nashik, Minister Chavan announced the allocation of Rs 1,100 crore for monsoon road repairs. This funding will facilitate the necessary maintenance and repair work on the state’s extensive road network, which spans over 1,05,000 km.
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, Minister Chavan revealed earlier in April that 45% of state highways were in poor condition. The PCRS was designed to address this issue, and after a testing phase, it became fully operational on June 1st.
Citizens can now register complaints about potholes on state highways through the PWD’s website or mobile application. However, permanent repairs will only commence after the monsoon season, starting in November. In the meantime, temporary fixes will be implemented using aggregates and crushed stones, as bituminous material is unsuitable for the monsoon conditions.
During the two-month pilot phase of the PCRS, a total of 1,689 complaints were registered. However, only 670 of these complaints have been addressed so far, indicating the need for improved efficiency and faster response times.
Criticism has been directed at the PWD regarding the maintenance of state highways. Activists have alleged that repairs and maintenance have not adhered to Indian Road Congress standards, resulting in poor road conditions for commuters. In response to these concerns, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde conducted a road inspection in the Thane Municipal Corporation area and announced strict penalties for road contractors. Each pothole left unaddressed by a contractor will now incur a penalty of Rs 1 lakh. Additionally, third-party testing and auditing will be conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology to ensure the implementation of high-quality workmanship.