The Bombay High Court directed all municipal, district and panchayat-level authorities in Maharashtra to explain the reasons for their inability to repair and maintain roads, and also state if lack of funds is the issue.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar asked civic authorities across the state to make a representation at the next hearing in November.
“The problem of potholes isn’t restricted to the roads in Mumbai. The roads in small towns and at the zila parishad and panchayat levels might also be bad. I also believe that the lack of adequate funds might be a primary reason why the authorities are unable to repair and maintain roads. That is why they must come to court and tell us if they get adequate funds or not,” Chief Justice Chellur said.
“I want them to tell me what are the problems that prevent them from repairing potholes that cause road accidents,” she said.
The bench directed municipal commissioners and the departments of Urban Development, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj to ask all the authorities concerned to make a representation before the court on November 8.
The high court was hearing a public interest litigation — initiated ‘suo moto’ (on its own) by the court — on the poor condition of roads in Mumbai and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s failure to prevent formation of potholes every monsoon and to repair them speedily.
At the last hearing in August, Chief Justice Chellur had ordered that a nodal agency be set up to look into the potholes- and other road-related complaints from across the state.
The court has made all the municipal corporations and municipal councils in Maharashtra respondents to the PIL.