This will the first time BMC is appointing an agency for road safety audits. The Opposition criticised BMC over the cost of the plan.
“The agency will submit detailed reports on traffic and pedestrian movement, and measures to be taken to enhance road safety. Flow of traffic and people will be analysed and detailed reports will be submitted on accident-prone spots in the city,” said a senior civic official.
BMC officials said 39 ‘black spots’ or accident-prone spots were identified by BMC. Many accidents are due to poor road design.
Officials said they would take the help of auditors to eliminate design flaws that cause accidents. Alterations in road design will also be recommended by the auditors.
BMC officials said they had received responses from four firms. “They all quoted rates ranging from Rs21,000-29,000 per km. We picked three agencies for Rs20,000 per km. The road length is 454km in the city, 352km in eastern suburbs and 770km in western suburbs. So, BMC will spend around Rs 3.15 crore on the project,” said an official.
The Opposition said BMC must not spend Rs20,000 per km. “Road safety auditors may give the best advice, but it will be practically impossible to follow the advice and implement the changes. BMC must not spend so much on auditors. This will again end up like the appointment of auditors for road work, where auditors were allegedly involved in a scam. BMC should conduct a pilot project for few roads and then appoint a citywide agency,” said Congress corporator Asif Zakaria.
In 2015, BMC had decided to do away with third-party auditors for monitoring road work after 10 employees of two firms were found to be involved in the multi-crore road repair scam.
In 2019, a Supreme Court committee issued guidelines for road safety. Public works department (PWD) of the state government will identify accident-prone zones or black spots on the national highways for the first time. If possible, red blinkers should also be introduced.