Tripping on chipped paver blocks may soon be a thing of the past with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) working on a policy to concretise city footpaths. The policy calls for concretisation of footpaths wider than 2 metres.
The corporation had in the past done away with paver blocks on roads but faced criticism for giving them a ‘backdoor entry’. It now wants to disallow paver blocks on footpaths as well since many people have been injured in the past.
In 2016, the BMC announced paver blocks would not be used on roads anymore, after a large number of complaints of potholes on paved roads. However, their use has not stopped completely. One such proposal was recently shot down by the standing committee.
The BMC decided to concretise most footpaths after some civic officials who recently visited New York for a conference saw the pavements there. A senior officer from the Roads Department said, “Paver blocks have shown very poor results on footpaths. There have been repeated complaints of poor quality, heavy maintenance, poor aesthetics, high costs and so on. We concretised a few footpaths in the eastern suburbs earlier this year and the experiment was successful. We now want to replicate it on as many footpaths as we can.”
Under the new policy, wherever footpaths are damaged and need to be re-done, they will be laid with concrete instead of pavers. The policy will be tabled before the municipal commissioner in a few months.
The move will not be without its set of challenges: concretising narrow footpaths, for one. Or undertaking trenching, given that dozens of utilities — power, telephone cables, PNG lines — run under footpaths. The maintenance of footpaths, therefore, will have to be centralised with the Roads Department instead of with the local ward office, and every agency that wishes to carry out trenching will have to do it with the department’s permission. “It will allow us to do quick reinstatement and quality maintenance,” the officer said.
Move to cost BMC more
The move will cost the corporation 10% to 15% more, said Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal. “We are doing this on an experimental basis. Which footpaths will be taken up for concretisation will also depend on width and other factors. We have already done this in a few places and the results have been good. So we have decided to concretise all new footpaths,” he said. Mr. Singhal denied that it would be difficult to undertake trenching work on such footpaths.