Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today said it was the Maharashtra government’s “constitutional obligation” to ensure pothole-free roads and it was the bare minimum it could do for its citizens. A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Owais Pechkar, raising the issue of bad condition of roads and potholes between Panvel and Goa on NH-66 every year during monsoons.

The state government informed the court today that it would carry out concretisation work on one part of the highway, which falls under its jurisdiction, by January 2020. Work on the remaining stretch would be carried out by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) by June 2019. The court, however, said that carrying out just concretisation work would not serve the purpose as the issue of potholes arises every year.

“Before carrying out such work, the government and the NHAI should take expert opinion on what kind of techniques and material to use so as to ensure the problem does not arise again. Just spending huge amount of money and time on the work would not serve any purpose,” Justice Oka said.

“It is the authorities’ constitutional obligation to ensure roads under their jurisdiction are maintained properly. Providing roads without potholes is the bare minimum the government and other authorities can do for citizens,” he said.

The bench has now posted the petition for further hearing on August 7.

Pechkar in his petition had said that the Mumbai-Goa National Highway witnesses more than average traffic daily and the pothole-ridden roads pose a serious threat to people. He also said that several more people were likely to travel on the stretch in the coming months to their hometown and villages in the Konkan region during the upcoming Ganpati festival.