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No easy solution to City's pothole riddle

Bangalore, July 13, 2013, DHNS: 0:42 IST
puddle: Pothole-free roads in Bangalore seem a distant dream and rain only worsens the  situation. DH Photo
Besides repairing bicycles, Jayaram these days hurls abuses as vehicles move past rapidly on Uttarahalli Main Road, splashing muddy water right on his face from the five potholes in front of his shop.

Jayaram criticises everyone, from the BBMP to vehicle riders to road contractors to the local MLA and corporator for the shoddy road work, which could not last even for a year. To stop vehicles from passing over the potholes, he has placed stones there. But that too proved costly as one of the stones flew after a heavy vehicle bumped it and damaged the indicator of a bike he was repairing.

This is not the story of Uttarahalli alone. Across the City, roads are in utter bad shape. The menacing potholes dot almost all the important roads exposing the poor construction of roads, which could not withstand the monsoon showers. On Church Street, many people fell off their vehicles after they encountered crater-like potholes near the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board office.

Near the Kaati Zone junction on the same stretch, a pothole has surfaced around the manhole. Kasturba Road tests the ability of motorists to drive vehicles, with many depressions on the road. Besides substandard work by the BBMP contractors, the Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) pits have caused serious damage to Kasturba Road.

Roads in the City such as Infantry Road, Cunningham Road, MG Road, Old Madras Road, Koramangala, Kumaraswamy Layout, Banashankari, Kanakapura Road and JP Nagar have turned motorists' nightmares.

According to Palike sources, there are about 12,500 potholes in the City. A budgetary provision of Rs 10 crore has been made in the first phase to fill them. If required, another Rs 10 crore will be released.

Bangalore district incharge Minister Ramalinga Reddy squarely blamed the contractors for their lack of commitment. He said tenders were invited for certain roads such as T Muniyappa Road, with the condition that the road should be maintained for five to eight years, but no contractor came forward. He pointed out the tendency of asphalting only the good roads, leaving out the battered roads, which aggravates the problem.

BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said rain was the main cause for roads getting damaged. To rid the City roads of potholes, a budgetary provision of Rs five lakh per ward has been made, which can be enhanced by another five lakh. Once the monsoon is over, BBMP will take up asphalting work on all major roads.

Digging-free roads

Lakshminarayana said the Palike has selected 25 major roads to develop them as 'digging-free roads'. It is already developing the stretch from Baiyyappanahalli to Mahatma Gandhi Road as digging-free road.

Lakshminarayana blamed Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) for ruining the roads by ‘merciless road-cutting’.

“We too have expertise to develop as good a road as the UB City Road. But, we have Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and KPCL to deal with.

If these agencies assure me that they will not damage a particular stretch for five years, we will lay a concrete road like the one at UB City,” said Lakshminarayana.

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