Time’s up, but many potholes remain

Sept. 20 was the deadline to fill potholes on major, arterial roads, and Sept. 30, for other roads in the city

The saga of potholed roads may continue for a few more days in the city. Though Monday was the deadline for filling of potholes and repairing of bad stretched on 1,332-km of major roads in several parts of the city, citizens continue to suffer owing to poor road conditions.

Since early September, three persons lost their lives trying to negotiate on roads that are potholed or dug up by various utilities. Earlier this month, Minister for Revenue R. Ashok had given the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the custodian of nearly 14,000-km of roads in the city, two deadlines – September 20 to fill potholes on major, arterial roads and September 30 for other roads.

Quality of work

While potholes on many roads, especially in the core zones, have been filled, questions have been raised about the quality of work executed. In many places, potholes have just been filled with gravel and mud and not asphalted. However, even this seems to be missing in outer zones, citizens complain, where roads remain unmotorable.

According to information made available by BBMP, around 6,552.71 tonnes of asphalt and 796.26 tonnes of wet mix macadem has been dispatched from the hot mix plant from the beginning of this month till September 19.

Recently, over 200 miffed citizens came together to protest against the deplorable state of Anjanapura Double Road. The citizens had hired a coracle to wade through the ‘ponds’ on the pothole-ridden roads, while some planted paddy saplings to draw attention to the pathetic condition of the 6.8-km road connecting Kanakapura Road and Gottigere, near Bannerghatta Road.

Abdul Aleem, president, Change Makers of Kanakapura Road, said that just 30% of the road has been made motorable by being levelled with gravel. Kanakapura Road, Holiday Village Road, and several other roads in the area remain riddled with potholes, making commuting very difficult, he said.

Jagadish Reddy from Varthur Rising said that the condition of most roads in Mahadevapura zone was deplorable. Borewell Road, Old Airport Road, Whitefield Main Road, Varthur Kodi to Gunjur, Chroma Road, Balagere Road to Outer Ring Road and Alasalli Road were just some of the roads that were in a poor condition. Every time it rained, water stagnated on most of these roads, he said. “With several people getting back to work, traffic has resumed. Road rage is rampant given the poor condition of the road, which contributes to slowing the vehicular movement further,” he pointed out.

Cables and pipelines

The various civic agencies digging up the roads has only compounded the woes of commuters in the city. While roads in the core city are being developed by Bengaluru Smart City Ltd., Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has taken up laying of underground cables in some localities, while the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is laying drinking water and underground drainage pipelines in 110 villages.

H.E. Chandrashekhar, chairman, Federation of HSR Layout Residents’ Welfare Associations, said that road restoration could be taken up only after Bescom completed the cable laying work. “For the past three months, Bescom has missed its own deadlines. We have raised the issue of slow progress of works at Ward Committee meetings. They have now assured residents of completing works by the end of the month,” he said.

BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta told The Hindu that until Saturday, the civic body was on track to fill potholes on major roads. “However, the heavy rains on Sunday night and Monday may have disrupted the progress. We are also checking if there has been any recurrence of potholes on roads already filled,” he said. Mr. Gupta also said that the work on repairing 2,500 km of roads dug up by BWSSB in 110 villages would be taken up next month, with the tendering process nearing completion.

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Sagar Biswas

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