By Prarthana Mitra
As part of Karnataka government’s recent drive to beautify and renovate the capital city, the High Court on Wednesday directed BBMP to fill all potholes in the city by September 20. A division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice SG Pandit set the one-day deadline for BBMP, after taking note of the abysmal condition of the roads, especially in monsoons.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is the administrative body responsible for civic amenities and certain infrastructural development works in the Greater Bangalore metropolitan area. The bench was hearing a public interest litigation to do with ensuring the safety of motorists, drivers and pedestrians, when it took the call to delegate responsibilities to BBMP.
“BBMP should ensure that there should not be a single pothole by working overnight”, HC said accusing the body of the pathetic conditions of important roads connecting tech parks all over the city.
Taking stock of the slippery slope
One such area is Thannisandra where work so far hasn’t been remotely satisfactory according to several disgruntled pedestrians. While the potholes were covered, the entire stretch behind Manyata tech park remains kuccha, one of them told Qrius, meaning rains inadvertently made matters worse. However, it is noteworthy that even though Thannisandra falls under the constituencies of BBMP, they have alleged that the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSS) is responsible for the work here.
“The 2 km stretch of road from Kensri School to our accommodation is non-existent,” another source told Qrius, saying that their Property Manager expects the construction to begin in December ‘18/ January ‘19 since the BBMP does not want to take up this work during the rainy season. “It requires a slight drizzle for this path to become terribly muddy, slushy, and waterlogged,” the source informed.
Gowri Om of the Bangalore Recording Company also voiced her discontent with the slapdash projects undertaken so far. “[There are] patches that have been freshly tarred/whitetopped but are badly done around the fringes. One half of the road is dug up on the side for possibly some pipe laying or maintenance work and the rest of it is like a dodgy runway. Road diversions merging into the opposite lane is a usual scenario in the after-hours, but warning signs don’t come till you are closer to a possible crash,” she said.
“It’s evident that work is being pursued,” Om told Qrius, “But the manner in which it’s done is what is upsetting the commuter.”
The court also took serious exception to the BBMP for not presenting or maintaining a single Measurement Book for the works done to fill the potholes, even as officials allegedly confirmed that there are still 1,655 potholes across the city. This comes just after a drive to end unauthorised hoardings and flexes in Bangalore.
However, based on the ground reality, it is easy to conclude that a day is not enough to rebuild the arteries of the city, especially not during the monsoons. And it’s time BBMP owned up to their responsibilities, pulled their socks up and worked out a concrete feasible plan for fixing the roads they have built.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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