Saw a pothole? Here’s how you can get BMC to fix it
A few hours of pre-monsoon showers last week have exposed some shoddy road construction in Mumbai, with social media littered with complaints from citizens about cracks and potholes on the city’s far from perfect roads.
Unfortunately, most have failed to elicit a response from civic officials since the complaints were not made through an official or authorised channel.
To ensure such complaints reach concerned officials going forward, here’s a list of every possible way via which one can complain to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) about potholes in their area or anywhere in the city.
Per the Bombay High Court order, the civic body has issued an updated list of WhatsApp numbers of its road engineers in each of the city’s 24 wards. The list was published in all leading newspapers as an advertisement on May 18, 2018.
Citizens can simply contact the engineer of the respective ward by sending a WhatsApp message and share additional information like location, picture in the chat. Those who don’t have access to WhatsApp can also send text messages to the same numbers.
The civic body has assured action on complaints within 72 hours of receiving them.
Pros: Quick two-way communication, ward-wise complaints
Cons: Not linked to any central database, less accountability, not 24×7
LPC Note: Almost half of the numbers mentioned above are either non-functional, not linked to WhatsApp or have not replied to complaints as of Monday.
MCGM 24×7 App:
Citizens can download the BMC’s official MCGM 24×7 app to file complaints about potholes.
Like WhatsApp, users can share pictures and the exact location of the pothole on the app. However, unlike the messaging platform, the user receives a complaint number after submitting the details, which he or she can use to track its status.
The app is not dedicated for pothole-related complaints, but allows users to post them as one of the options.
Pros: Ability to share exact details, monitored by senior officials, linked to a central database
Cons: App is far from perfect, many reviews cite inaction by officials
LPC Note: The app requires the user to sign in before viewing or taking any action. However, multiple attempts at completing the registration process failed as the app did not send an OTP.
The BMC has also launched a toll-free number – 1800221293 – where citizens can file complaints about potholes this monsoon. The helpline will remain functional 24×7.
Once the call is made, the operator will take down the details, assign a complaint number and notify the concerned official about the issue.
Although the caller will not be pro-actively informed about the status of his or her complaint, they can call the helpline again for an update or enter the number on the MCGM 24×7 app to know about its current status.
Pros: Toll-free number, operational 24/7, linked to a central database
Cons: Can’t share images, no pro-active update
LPC Note: A call to the helpline during the day went through successfully and the operator was able to note the details on call.
Citizens can also file complaints in the following ways.
Calling Disaster Control Room on 1916
The disaster management helpline is similar to calling the toll-free number, except that it is not dedicated for pothole-related complaints. The helpline, however, can be used to report about other mishaps like live wires, tree fall etc.
Filling a form on BMC’s website
The MCGM website has an option for filing complaints about a host of issues. While the service is useful in many cases, it is not recommended for reporting potholes as it requires users to input a number of fields, which are not entirely relevant.
While some netizens have received responses on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, civic officials do not check them for complaints. It is therefore recommended to reach out to them via one of the official modes for such complaints.
On a separate note, the BMC will start repairing potholes with a cold-mix material from this year. The civic body will manufacture the material, made in collaboration with a German firm, in its own plant at Worli.