BBMP to high court: 899 potholes filled; but...

BBMP to high court: 899 potholes filled; but...

In a race to meet deadline for filling potholes, BBMP to work on holidays too

BBMP filling the potholes after High Court order to fix the problem soon. (DH Photo)

The BBMP counsel on Thursday submitted to the Karnataka High Court that 899 potholes were filled overnight and the process of filling the remaining 2,172 is in progress.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a PIL filed by Vijayan Menon and others who had moved the court seeking directions to the BBMP to place a report on action taken on repairing and filling the potholes and also provide a mechanism to the citizens to file complaints on the poor condition of the city’s roads.

M R Venkatesh, engineer-in-chief, BBMP on Thursday submitted an affidavit before the court stating that the BBMP has attended to and filled 899 potholes in its eight zones on Thursday. Furthermore, during the filling of potholes on the intervening night between Wednesday and Thursday, it identified additional potholes and requested the court to grant three more days to fill all the potholes in the city.

He also submitted a status report with details of potholes as on Thursday. Thereafter, the court orally observed that the BBMP had to bring the number of potholes to zero and it will accept nothing less.

The court also directed the BBMP to submit all the measurement books pertaining to the 198 wards by Thursday evening. The court further asked the Registrar Judicial to make an inventory of the last page of the measurement books submitted by the BBMP.

The court further said that all the work done by the BBMP pertaining to filling potholes has to be recorded. The court adjourned the hearing of the case to Monday.

The court further observed that if BBMP’s officers do not do their duty, they are answerable. The quality of work will also be questioned. The court also orally observed that such issues should not land in PIL jurisdiction. It should not come to a state wherein a court has to ask the BBMP to do the work.

On Wednesday, the court had pulled up the BBMP for the large number of potholes on the city’s roads. The court had stated that it expected the BBMP to fill all the potholes in the city by Thursday. The court stated that it expects the BBMP to fill potholes by Monday.

...but does only a cosmetic job

However, BBMP has resorted to cosmetic methods to fill potholes in the city in a rush to meet the high court’s deadline.

Though the process of filling potholes has gained pace, the civic body’s slapdash approach may see craters reappearing with the next shower.

Commuters and experts believe that this patchwork method to ‘satisfy’ the court will bring no cheer to commuters as the tar will soon wear out.

This is not the first time the BBMP is employing such means. In 2017, after heavy rains, the city was riddled with as many as 33,000 potholes. The civic body tried to adopt the ‘micro-milling’ method where the milling machine completely removed the pothole by grinding and then filled the surface with asphalt. But, this method was confined to Ballari Road.

The officials then had claimed that the milling method was cost-effective and more durable, saying the road would last for three years. The BBMP also uses three Python machines which can fill up to 150 potholes a day. Despite all this, motorists continue to struggle on pothole-filled roads.

Road expert M N Srihari said the BBMP has not submitted the exact number of potholes to the court.

“There are thousands of potholes across the city and the BBMP sticks to a small number of 1,655. They should adopt more scientific methods like using tack coat which binds the old layer of the asphalt with the new layer,” he said.

Sumana Narayan, a daily commuter on Bannerghatta Road said the BBMP was supposed to complete the work long back. Why do they always wait till the fag end?” she asked.

H S Veena, a resident of Girinagar opined that the civic body has neglected newly added zones and is focussing mostly on the CBD.

BBMP officials said they have long-term solutions for pothole-free roads with projects like white-topping and TenderSURE. “Workers have been engaged in filling potholes day and night. There will be no potholes in two-three days,” said BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad. Mayor R Sampath Raj said quality will not be compromised. “We honour the court’s directions. We will ensure good quality,” he said.

BBMP to work on holidays too

With the High Court setting September 24 as the deadline for the civic body to fill all the potholes in the city the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has swung into action and will now be working on holidays as well. 

BBMP officials said that though September 21 is a holiday on the occasion of Muharrum, the workers will continue to do the work. 

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that they are tirelessly working in order to make the city free of potholes. "We will complete the work within the deadline given to us and I have been receiving the data with photographs from all over the city as to how our workers are going about the work," said Prasad.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox