Smart City roads turn nightmare for motorists, pedestrians

BBMP Civic Commissioner flags waterlogging, delay in completion of works, lack of coordination as major issues plaguing incomplete roads

Roads being developed under Smart City in the Central Business District area are proving to be a nightmare for motorists and pedestrians as many stretches have become susceptible to waterlogging with heavy rains lashing the city almost every day. Residents and store owners on Commercial Street, Ulsoor Road, Miller’s Road and several other key roads where works are on have raised the issue multiple times.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta himself recently flagged the issue, along with delay in completion of works. “On many roads, the gratings put up to allow water to enter the drains are above the road level causing waterlogging, inconvenience to motorists and ruining the road surface as well. These need to be fixed immediately,” Mr. Gupta said in his letter dated October 16 to the Managing Director, Bengaluru Smart City Ltd. A copy of the letter is available with The Hindu.

When contacted, Rajendra Cholan, MD, Bengaluru Smart City Ltd., admitted that rains had hindered work. We are waiting for three rainless days to lay Dense Bituminous Macadam (0.7 inches) on 16 roads, he said. However the gratings were installed taking into consideration the 0.7 inches of DBM which is not yet laid, and hence they are currently above road level.

“We have a forecast that after October 24 we will get rain-free days and we will complete the works in a week and then these issues will be sorted out,” Mr. Cholan told The Hindu.

Missed deadlines

However, gratings aren’t the only problem with the 32 Smart City roads in the CBD area. Inordinate delay in completion of works and several deadlines missed is another issue that the civic chief raised in his letter. Mr. Gupta noted the delay and inconvenience it is causing and directed Bengaluru Smart City Ltd. to speed up the works and complete them at the earliest.


He also said delay in laying bituminous concrete over the carriageway led to the deterioration of the road work already completed during the rains.

Mr. Gupta called for better coordination with other agencies like Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom).

Work on only nine of 32 roads complete so far

In January this year, then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa set a deadline of May 31 – before the monsoons – to complete works on all 32 roads. This was later extended to June 30 and again to August 30 by when the rains had already set in.

Mr. Cholan told The Hindu that all works were completed on only nine roads and works on 16 roads would be completed by November. The remaining seven will take longer. “The monsoons interrupted the work causing the delay,” he said.

“What is so smart about these roads anyway?,” asked N.S. Mukunda, of Bengaluru Praja Vedike, a citizen’s forum, adding that waterlogging and delayed deadlines reflect the lack of coordination between agencies.

Meanwhile, traders on these key streets and the commuters navigating them continue to suffer. “First there was the pandemic and the lockdowns. Now when restrictions have been lifted, the neverending road work has robbed us of business. There is also a lot of dust, and rain often causes the roads to turn to sludge,” said Ganapathy, a bookseller from Avenue Road.

Mohammed Nazin, Vice President, Bangalore Commercial Association, an association of traders on Commercial Street, said there was waterlogging, but that the civic agencies were working on it. He hoped they would do a decent job ‘once and for all’ this time, given that the work was shoddy and had design flaws last time. “We need to wait, which we are ready to do, but we want the work to be good at the end,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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