No Relief From Potholed Roads

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Roads in Panaji are riddled with deep crater-like potholes, which at times give one a feeling of driving or riding on the Moon or Mars. According to official data, around 2,000 persons were killed in the country last year due to pothole-related accidents. However, there is no data available on illnesses like back pain, joint pain and the like caused due to riding on such potholed roads. Roads are subject to wear and tear and develop cracks, which enlarge over time and turn into potholes. A check of the vulnerable stretches of roads can help identify these signs of damage. A regular maintenance must be undertaken diligently by the authorities. One of the medieval methods of filling the potholes with laterite rubble is still being followed. Such filled potholes open up again in the dead of the night, such is the shoddy work done. The haphazard-sized laterite rubble creates bumps and makes the road even more uneven. Use of a road roller allows to attain flatness but this cannot be compared to the one achieved using hot-mix. Sometimes mud is poured over this laterite rubble, which makes the surface slippery. Such measures temporarily fix the problem, but exacerbate the instances of a mishap. Another method is when interlocking pavers are used. The sharp edges of the pavers damage the tyres and poor fixing techniques cause individual pavers to wobble when a vehicle passes over them. Individual pavers may fly off at times due to strong wobble. Then comes the use of concrete layers, seen in recent times. Due to the brittle nature of concrete and the absence of cross-strengthening with steel rods, these layers develop cracks very easily, defeating the purpose for which they were intended to help. Last but not the least, wet concrete is poured into the potholes at night. Due to the absence of signages, a chance passing of a vehicle through this fill creates a deep groove that hardens during the day. Thus we have a pothole within a pothole! I hope the authorities rethink their approach towards the maintenance of roads. 

RAGHAV GADGIL, KHANDOLA