April showers show chinks in road infrastructure


‘Most of the dug-up roads become accident-prone death traps during and after rains’

‘Most of the dug-up roads become accident-prone death traps during and after rains’

It took a few days of rain for recently repaired roads to develop pothole. As the firm contracted to fill potholes using a python machine ran into a dispute with the city’s civic body, the Karnataka High Court had to intervene and direct the company to immediately start work. 

While the condition of roads in the 110 villages where multiple civic works are underway is extremely bad, even main roads in the core city have deteriorated. The condition of inner roads in residential layouts in Kothanur Hennur, Varthur and Kengeri are even worse, say residents. 

Last year, multiple areas saw residents planting paddy and saplings on roads to draw the attention of the authorities. Jagadish Reddy, a resident of Varthur, who led such a protest last year, said the civic works were unending and lacked coordination or transparency. “We fear a repeat of last year this monsoon too,” he said. 

Civic activist D.S. Rajashekhar, a resident of HBR Layout, said it was sad that the civic body had not learnt its lessons even after so many years. “Most of the dug-up roads become accident-prone death traps during and after rains. The unwillingness of the civic body to learn from past experiences has left the citizens most vulnerable. Even after so many years, we have not devised an effective mechanism where we complete all road works before it rains,” he said. 

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) announced that it is taking up a slew of road works. This includes asphalting 392 km spread across 208 roads across the city at a cost of ₹600 crore and redoing dug up roads in 110 villages at a cost of ₹1078 crore. However, it remains to be seen whether it will be able to complete these works before the onset of monsoons. 

G.M. Ravindra, Working President, BBMP Contractors’ Association, said while they have also read in papers of ₹600 crore being earmarked for asphalting roads, no work orders were issued yet. “There is a long lag between funds being sanctioned and works being taken up on the street,” he said, hinting that all the road works may not catch the pre-monsoon deadline.

Chief Civic Commissioner Gaurav Gupta recently held a review meeting of road works taken up in 110 villages and set a deadline of May end to complete relaying all the roads selected – 794.98 kms. Of them, relaying 298.69 kms of road stretch has been completed, while work on 505.29 kms is pending, sources said. Commissioner Mr. Gupta said officials in the zones will be held responsible for any delay and missing the May end deadline in the road work in 110 villages.

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