This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jaimine BezBoznik Blesav. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Soon, There Might Be More Potholes In Mumbai Than People: What Is The BMC Doing?

More from Jaimine BezBoznik Blesav

By Jaimine BezBoznik Blesav:

Going by the inflated statistics on potholes in Mumbai, “the city that never sleeps” would choose to start sleeping since the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) acts to lie, corrupt & delude. Every day, month and year, and especially during the monsoon, helpless Mumbaikars do not have any other option other than facing the flak and lethargy designed by the richest municipal body of Asia. The less said, the better. With all due respect, the potholes are likely to overtake the population of Mumbai in next few years. As long as BMC continues to enjoy monopoly on road construction and services, there would not be coherent incentives to rationally overcome the potholes menace.

What Is Being Done?

Source: Vijayanand Gupta/Getty Images

It has been observed that there are road accidents caused by the potholes. Last year, around 600 died in Maharashtra either directly or indirectly due to potholes. It is also responsible for the poor quality of roads and traffic congestion. Last but not the least, the whole business of auctioning the road contracts to a few crony elites is systemically designed by the BMC. It does not make sense to arrest them and bail them out later. Potholes continue to exist because BMC does not have a sound ideology to overcome the basic problem. For example, does Mumbai have any instrument to seek compensation from BMC for its road management and policy lag? Meanwhile, the administrative functions of BMC are energised by a law drafted by the British in 1888.

There have been cases where helpless Mumbaikars from Malad fixed potholes on their own. This example clearly explains that there is a good scope for community organisers and private owners to manage roads. Ronald F. Kirby, transportation director for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, opined that private companies have more of an incentive to invest in infrastructure early, before a public outcry prompts construction. He noted, “Too often in the public sector, the easiest thing to do is let things sit unresolved. The private sector is motivated by self-interest to resolve things quickly.”

BMC is failing because it is a store of bureaucracies, not businesses. The result of when Rs. 36,000 crore walks into a central treasury is that it does not fuel any good economics but bad politics. Mumbai suffers from BMC syndrome. The municipal body is an unpriced service provider run by an unresponsive monopolistic bureaucracy – on most of our roads. Taking the ‘public choice‘ theory into consideration, there is no revenue streaming directly – from road users to road managers – to provide incentives, either to manage existing capacity to maximum consumer advantage or to adjust capacity to demand. I wonder whether BMC officials ever apply economic tools to understand the problems of Mumbai?

What Should Be Done?

Local neighborhood streets could also be taken care of by the private road associations. The association can allow members to drive these streets for free and charge fees to motorists using them as cut-throughs to get to other places. This would also deflate traffic congestion and empower such bodies to resolve potholes quickly.

Private contractors would compete to provide good road service similar to the way in which elevator companies compete for the business of office buildings, despite the fact that a typical building may only contract with one elevator provider at a time. For example, a company that owns a private road will typically want to at least recoup its earlier investment to construct the road. Furthermore, when construction is complete, the company wants to keep investing in the road to keep up its initial value, because roads deteriorate over time. Road maintenance needs to be quick and of high quality, to keep the road from becoming idle again in the future resulting in a capital loss for the company. Road traffic needs to be maximised, because that will result in higher revenues to the company.

In this whole matter, BMC should not intervene in this equation. It should not attempt to produce public goods at all because it is incapable to facilitate the internalisation of the external costs. Are Mumbaikars blessed with any right to punish BMC for the policy errors? If yes, how do you virtually hold BMC ‘accountable’ for the menace?

The private road or street companies would have no interest in regulating the dress or ‘moral’ habits, or lifestyle of the people who used their streets. They would stay immersed in maintaining the quality of their roads. I’d rather not name a certain regional party which is more interested in policing the lifestyle of Mumbaikars than endeavouring to solve the real problems of Mumbai. Since the power of BMC is the greatest enemy of Mumbai, our city needs a system of better rules. Not bitter rulers. For example, ‘Free A Billionis a social movement based in Mumbai and it is agog to legislate grassroot changes through legislative advocacy. The platform is working towards the principles of our city and endeavors to debauch the establishment of obsolete polity. As you know that BMC’s relationship with potholes is proving very costly for the tax-paying Mumbaikars, it is time to stop, complaining, tolerating potholes and conducing blind obedience. It is time for action and get our city back to its modern glory.

You must be to comment.

More from Jaimine BezBoznik Blesav

Similar Posts

By Parul Sharma

By Ashwani Soni

By Ankita Marwaha

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below