Citizens audit finds gaps in quality of asphalted roads

Citizens audit finds glaring gaps in quality of asphalted roads in Bengaluru

Residents of Isro Layout did a road quality audit to find glaring gaps in the civic works

Representative image. Credit: DH photo

In a refreshing boost to people-driven decentralised accountability, young citizens of the city’s Isro Layout have just done a visual audit of their recently asphalted roads. Finding faults galore, they are now confronting the contractors and engineers concerned, asking pointed questions with proof.

This could be a model worth replicating in wards across the city. Youth4IsroLayout (Y4IL), the youth collective that conducted the audit/survey on Sunday, found glaring loopholes on all the studied road stretches: Potholes, road-cuttings, gaps left unasphalted, and asphalt breaking out of uneven surfaces.

The asphalting had ignored basic eco-guidelines. At many places across the layout, Y4IL found that the roads were asphalted/cemented right up to the roots of the trees. “This issue may be addressed in general across the layout to provide some breathing space for the trees,” the survey report noted.

Lack of prior information on the asphalting meant parked cars could not be removed in time. Such stretches were left unattended. “If the schedule of asphalting is possible to be conveyed to residents in advance, such incidents could be avoided.”

Supervision is critical while the asphalting process is on. The citizens’ survey found that weak spots on the road were not strengthened before laying the asphalt. The report insisted that the BBMP’s work inspector should thoroughly check the quality of the process carried out by the contractor.

The asphalting is still a work in progress. The survey thus allowed the Y4IL to draw the Palike’s attention to the gaps. “The problems captured in this document (with visual proof) may be corrected by the contractor before he completes all the activities in the layout,” the report notes.

The local engineers and other officials of the BBMP were confronted with the report’s findings. “When asked why the freshly tarred road had sunk in certain places, they blamed it on the BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) for not relaying the road properly after repairing a repaired water line,” a residents’ welfare association member told DH.

But the timely intervention by the citizens themselves to identify the faults and fix responsibility on the agencies concerned was unique. Civic activists hoped this could spark a city-wide change at the grassroots.

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