Sunday, June 12, 2011

Road cutting & the city!

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress... Martin Luther King

When I read this quote it make me remember a news saying MSEDL i.e. MSEB earlier, has decided to move back on laying over head power cables because of heavy road cutting charges demanded by PMC for laying the underground cables! After this news the authorities woke up & then it’s decided that the rate per running meter length for road cutting of MSEB cable lying will be approximate Rs 1000/meter. Though this rate is also too much but all other purposes it is still Rs 4000/meter! Means if a person has to lay a cable for MSEB say 300 feet then he has to pay nearly Rs 4 lacs to PMC for road cutting charges when with any logic the amount don’t come more than 1 lac to do the road of best quality for this length. Actually in first place this is infrastructure work & is supposed to be done by MSEB only but as they don’t have enough funds it’s agreed mutually that it will be carried out by the person/ institute who is in need of the supply. On the top of it one has to pay 15% as supervision charges to MSEB for this work. Now if the MSEB is laying the cable they are charged at rate of 1500/meter but if the same cable is laid by private person then it’s charged more than 2.5 times! Why? No idea! Leave apart power cables or telephone cables, the same rate is applicable for water line development or drainage line development which actually is part of PMC infrastructure! Does all these departments pay such amounts to the road department when they carry out the work, is the question common man will like to know! Many a times when the drainage line or water line is passing through the embankment where paving isn’t done yet the same rate of road digging is applied.
One will think this is typical builder's cry (like Crocodiles weeping) as it's them who is getting pinched here & what matters if they have to squeeze out some money for city development? Well, point taken but then from whom the builder is going to recover this money? And this is why I keep on pointing out towards such issues which on surface looks like harmless enough for common man but in actual all such things makes an home un-affordable for him! Nobody is against the charges but there should be some yard stick & they should be reasonable, not less or more! As every single rupee added wrongly on any new construction is making the home costlier for the citizens. I repeat its not that this is the only reason for making the homes costliear, there are other factors but unless we consider each & every factor & dealt with reasonably we won’t be able to reduce the cost of production of the homes!
No doubt again the roads should be maintained in roper condition & digging does make them sustainable to damage by wear & tear but why we require digging the road repeatedly this question also the local body should ask them self! Fact is the standard procedure of having service lines on both sides of the road & proper crossings at regular interval has not been followed along many roads in the city. It’s ok, we were developing & all good things don’t happen over night but why the new development should be punished for this lacuna? Here I will suggest something about this issue which is in a hot seat for few years now. Since last 5/6 years time & again the point has been raised about the road cutting charges, what I feel is keep a separate table with fixed rates per running meter for different road categories. We can work out the rate by sitting across with the road department engineers & settle this issue once for all. The present rate are high or low isn’t the issue lets work out the actual costing involved & freeze it for a year as well the simple & faster procedure for the same. As any delay in such clearance is going to delay the infrastructure setting of the city. What is happening is either the works are getting delayed or getting costlier or there is unauthorized road digging going on rampantly all around the city, making the city loose huge income, just to save the huge charges involved in road cutting is also a fact.
We can also allow the developer to get the road work done & get NOC for the same through the same person who is analyzing road cutting charges by charging 7-8% supervision fees of the estimate. As it has been observed even after paying the charges yet the patch of road remains undone & that's not the result we want. If we allow the concerned person then for his interest at least he will get the work done fast & immediately after the digging is done in a stipulated time span. Or else charge him the fines. Because timing is also important issue as we can’t allow the digging work going on for months & causing inconvenience to the other users just because permission has been sanctioned for the same.
 Another issue is we should acknowledge a fact that whether its power cable/drainage/water line/gas line/rain water drains all these are for strengthening the infrastructure of the city only & in ideal situation no consumer has to be required to dig the road at all, such should be the condition. But as we have yet to reach that stage to provide such network the consumer has to dig the road. Actually he is doing the job of the govt, so considering this aspect we should decide the road cutting charges.
 In no case we should allow overhead cables for whatever purposes it may telephone, internet or power as the losses are more & we are already short of power. Also no doubt about the maintenance costs incurred for the same are much more than underground. Aesthetics of the city is yet another issue for the overhead lines as we all know how the sky line looks with the number of power lines/cables crisscrossing our sky. Also the poles needs stays to keep it balanced & they are major obstructions on footpaths & cycle tracks, becoming the main cause of accidents as they are literally invisible at night time.

Here role of every body concerning to the city is important as its not for any community we are talking about but the rationality in the system so right from the elected members to public servant to NGO's every one has to speak out what they feel & stand behind the right way of charging.

Sanjay Deshpande

Chairman ,Envo -Power Committee,PBAP.

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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