Craters in Mumbai

I first thought that some meteorites from outer space have fallen on Mumbai roads when I saw big craters. One cannot blame me for such thoughts, it looked like almost reality.

But the fact is that continuous monsoon rains have again caused havoc to Mumbai roads, and exposed yet again the poor quality of re-surfacing which is carried out every year after the rains completely stop. How is it that when torrential rains hit developed countries’ cities, the road is perfectly fine – examples close to India being Singapore and Malaysia ?

And, it is a disgrace to see such bad quality of roads both near the International Airport as well as the Domestic Airport. The car speed drops to just about 10 to 20 KMPH, to facilitate navigation on such craters and to avoid serious damage to the suspension.

Even in some of the other cities of India, such as Chennai, or Ahmedabad, or Hyderabad, the roads seem to be of a better quality than in Mumbai, though not as good as the ones abroad. While we have come a long way in the “high tech” area with global recognition, we still do not seem to be able to enhance our infrastructure and environment. The quality of life in the best city of India is still a big question mark. Mumbai is clearly the leader amongst cities of India – in terms of its cosmopolitan nature, business concentration, entertainment business concentration, financial dominance, et al. However, the government is not in a position to direct its infrastructural investments in a quality manner, keeping in mind that the lowest bidder will never deliver quality in a tender which uses public money.

May be such work should be completely outsourced to an independent authority with the only deliverable as “ensuring quality of life for citizens when they are out on the roads and interface with public infrastructure and environment”, rather than just cost reduction and resultant poor quality.


Vijay Srinivasan
29th August 2010


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