BBMP officials' response on potholes riles Karnataka HC

BBMP officials' response on potholes, footpaths riles Karnataka HC

The court is hearing a PIL petition filed by Vijayan Menon and others in 2015 on roads with "killer potholes"

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

The high court has directed the BBMP commissioner to file an affidavit stipulating the action taken by the civic body to fix potholes and footways. 

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka passed the order on Tuesday after two BBMP chief engineers failed to give a specific response to a report submitted by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) on potholes in the city.

The court is hearing a PIL petition filed by Vijayan Menon and others in 2015 on roads with "killer potholes" and the poor condition of footways. 

As per a December 2020 court order, the KSLSA assessed the quality of roads with assistance from the National Highways Authority of India. It created WhatsApp groups to receive public complaints on potholes along with photographs and videos.

It subsequently filed a report to the court, stating that it had received 5,435 responses and a majority of complaints (3,531) were regarding footpaths  (encroachments/blocking and even non-existing pavements). 

The BBMP, however, failed to submit documents on estimation, technical sanction and photos taken before and after the work regarding 74 roads, which it claimed had become pothole-free. 

As per the court’s March 4 direction, Siddegowda and B S Prahlad, BBP chief engineers (road infrastructure), attended Tuesday’s hearing via video conference. 

The engineers informed the court that teams of officials from sub-divisional offices had been formed and instructed to visit the places. 

The bench observed that it was compelled to direct the KSLSA to step in since the BBMP had failed to comply with the court orders given in July 2019. The court directed the BBMP commissioner to submit an affidavit on compliance with orders passed by it from time to time and in particular the one given in July 2019. 

The officers present at the hearing said a tender had been floated for repairing footways and footpaths. The court noted that the officers did not respond to queries about the specific instances with photographs that were recorded in the KSLSA report. The court asked the BBMP commissioner to file the affidavit within three weeks on all aspects, including the specific cases stated in the KSLSA report. 

The matter was adjourned until March 30 when the court will peruse the BBMP commissioner’s affidavit.