Potholes in Bengaluru, famously known as the Silicon Valley of India, is a deep-rooted problem and often criticised and ignored. This persistent problem has resulted in many deaths, serious injuries as a result of road accidents. BBMP, Bengaluru's civic body, is responsible to ensure the roads are pliable for commuters and not a tragedy waiting to happen.
After many such grievances raised by the residents, protests on roads and appeals made to the state government, the issue has fell flat. In fact, questions were raised on where the government spent a whopping Rs 20,000 crore budget allotted to repair Bengaluru roads in the last five years. Even the Bengaluru traffic police initiated proactive measures and even filed FIRs against officers of civic agencies for negligence.
Even as residents see some roads being fixed up, just days later, they see the same road being dug up for some new work. Let's say the BBMP laid asphalt on a pothole-ridden road, few days later, another agency, like the Bescom or BWSSB would dig up the newly-laid road over some maintenance work. Since the re-digging happens only days or sometimes weeks apart, residents question if some basic inter-department coordination could easily avoid messing up a perfectly good road.
BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB lack coordination
The Karnataka state government has been pushing the digital-first governance and e-office concept, which is aimed at streamlining the process and ensuring transparency in terms of inter-department coordination. However, grassroots implementation is lacking, and the price is being paid by the residents. One Twitter user highlighted how a road was asphalted in Bengaluru, only to be dug up a week later.
"In the digital communication era, how difficult is it for departments to work together?" questioned Agent Peenya on Twitter.
Many users have since shared their plights. One user pointed out a white-topped street being closed for the last 4 days due to a low-hanging tree branch. Another user pointed out the pathetic road condition in Varthur-Dommasandra stretch, which should take no more than 2 minutes, instead it takes up to 15 minutes.
"Heights of ignorance," exclaims Kevin James.
Other residents have also listed down names of areas where a similar tradition is followed and there's no accountability. Hanumanthanagara, Girinagara, Basavanagudi are few areas where this practice has become rampant.
BBMP has a plan
Taking note of this, BBMP said it is planning to implement a rule, wherein it will be the responsibility of the agency that digs up the road to fix it as well. But the civic body fails to realise and implement a much easier method - coordinating with other departments and planning the infrastructure works in the city.
"The coordination between civic agencies is not great. Roads are being dug up by Bescom, BWSSB, KPTCL and even OFC companies. Hence, we are planning to implement a rule mandating that whichever agency digs up a road will be completely responsible for restoring it once work is over. The ward-level Palike engineer will supervise things."
But residents question the new rules' effectiveness if it is without repercussions. Do these agencies who dig up a road even have the expertise to carry out the work in the same capacity as BBMP? The new rule appears to raise more questions than answers.