BBMP’s white-topping rush could trigger traffic chaos

Due to white topping work, traffic is affected near tool gate, Mysuru road in Bengaluru on Monday. Photo by S K Dinesh

The city could be thrown into further traffic chaos as the civic authority is preparing to white-top the roads yet to be worked on in phases 1 and 2.

At a recent meeting, BBMP commissioner B H Anil Kumar asked officials of the Project Central Department — the nodal department for the white-topping project — to complete the remaining work in a year.

“Since the work order for white-topping of phases 1 and 2 have already been issued, we have been instructed to complete the remaining work in a year,” N Ramesh, chief engineer at BBMP’s Project Central, told DH.

The civic body’s records show that it was awarded white-topping works in 2017. It should have covered about 95 kilometres of different stretches of roads in phase 1, costing Rs 800 crore, while phase 2 should have covered 63 kilometres at a cost of Rs 690 crore.

In reality, the Palike could only white-top 30 kilometres of the estimated 158 kilometres of roads in two years, which left the civic officials themselves in shock.

“How will it be possible to complete the (remaining) roads in one year?” questioned a civic official. “The Palike could only complete 30 kilometres in two years — an average of 15 kilometres a year.” 

At the current rate, the official estimated that white-topping of the remaining 128 kilometres will be done in eight years. “Traffic is increasing every day and the work would force the police to (frequently) divert the traffic. If the BBMP wants to white-top most of the roads (simultaneously), it will lead to major shutdowns and result in chaos,” the official said. The BBMP commissioner told DH that the officials listed out several reasons for not completing the work on time during his meeting with them. “I have instructed them to complete the (white-topping) work within the given timeline by holding meetings with the traffic police who have agreed to issue traffic diversion permissions,” Kumar said.

“The white-topping will be taken up without much disturbance to the traffic movement. I want to ensure that the work is finished at the earliest,” Kumar added.

Ramesh, on the other hand, is confident that the work could be completed within the given timeline.

“We undertook white-topping for the first time (and therefore the delay). Now, we know more about the work. So, we believe it could be completed in a year,” he said.

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