Every year, the civic body spends anywhere between 50% and 178% more than it does to re-clean the roads – a process that goes beyond the monsoon months.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation of AMC’s five budget years shows that the civic body spent Rs 1,432 crore on cleaning roads between 2015 and 2020. However, during the same period, it spent half of the amount, Rs 693 crore, on the reconstruction of the road. In 2017, an election year for the state, the AMC spent Rs 99 crore on revitalizing roads and Rs 277 crore on cleaning them.
40% of the total expenditure on roads was spent on cleaning
Similarly, a cursory look at the municipal budget shows that AMC spent 116% more on road cleaning in 2015-16, 178% more in 2016-17, 122% more in 2017-18, 2018-19 134% more in 2019-2020 and 105% higher in 2019-2020.
“Roads are usually exposed soon after a civilian line is laid. This includes year-round water supply and drainage lines, electricity, gas and communication facilities. Such surfacing is in addition to monsoon repairs.
“However, roads are also the preferred dumping spots. Especially in the commercial areas of the west zone, and residential areas in the east and south zones, trucks of the solid waste department ply twice to clear the mess,” admitted a senior AMC official.
Hitesh Barot, chairman of the standing committee, said, ‘We will start the road construction again after this. Dussehra. It is not that we are spending on road resurfacing alone. AMC is laying 225 km of new roads at a cost of Rs 225 crore. We will spend about one crore rupees on one kilometer of road.
To this Dharmesh Patel, a businessman at Sindhu Bhawan Road says, “Roads in our area are damaged because there is no coordination between various civic utility companies. They leave behind debris and excavated soil, then the AMC incurs additional expenses. On cleaning it up, I suggest that common utility ducts should be made mandatory for all major main roads so that cleaning and maintenance is possible. Also, bitumen roads should give way to cemented roads.” Rajshree Shah, a homemaker Bopali South says, “Roads in South Bopal, in particular” gala gymkhana The stretch reappeared earlier this year, but is no longer walkable. I walk 3 km daily to reach home. Even the internal roads have been badly damaged after the drainage line was laid. “Bad roads not only lead to accidents, but also cause constant body aches and spinal cord injuries,” he said. AMC spends an average of 11.75% of its annual budget on cleaning and maintenance of roads, streets and footpaths. Budget documents of the AMC show that its expenditure on cleaning roads has increased from Rs 226.23 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 378.69 crore in 2020-21. The expenditure on cleaning of roads is about 34% to 40% of the total expenditure of the municipal body on repair of roads, footpaths and roads.
A senior official of AMC’s finance department, who declined to be named, said, “Since 2006, AMC has been claiming to be a ‘dust-free city’, but no one has allocated enough budget for wall-to-wall carpeting. Has not shown the political will to build roads or construct new roads.”