HC sets one-day deadline to fix potholes in Bengaluru

HC sets one-day deadline to fix potholes in Bengaluru

BBMP workers patching up potholes after the high court order.

After ordering the BBMP to rid the city of unauthorised flexes and hoardings, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday rapped the Palike for the increasing number of potholes on Bengaluru’s streets. 

In a relief to the city’s motorists, the high court on Wednesday said it expected the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to fill all the potholes in the city by Thursday. The court set the deadline considering the safety of motorists.

The court orally observed: “There should not be a single pothole in the city by Thursday. The BBMP should ensure this by working overnight.” The observation was made by a division bench headed by the Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari while hearing the petition that has been pending since 2015.

However, BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad told reporters, “The high court has not set any deadline. However, it has asked us to submit the measurement books pertaining to the work done. We have already filed an affidavit on the status on the number of potholes filled.”

The court had earlier observed that against the 4,000 identified potholes, only 1,000 had been filled. However, the BBMP informed the court that 1,655 potholes needed to be filled.

The court then sought to check the measurement books of the work being executed. However, the BBMP was unable to submit them and stated that since the work was being executed in about 198 wards by different contractors, it was difficult to collect all the measurement books.

The court expressed shock that BBMP was unable to produce even a single measurement book maintained for the work done to fill the potholes. The bench orally observed that the BBMP has been working without measurement books and that if the Palike can’t do its work, “then we can shut down the civic body and take it over”.

Following this, the court directed the BBMP to place the measurement books before the judicial registrar by 4.30 pm on Wednesday and added these will be produced before the bench on Thursday for consideration.

The court observed: “Bengaluru has to be restored to its glory as a garden city.” The BBMP officials then swung into action. M R Venkatesh, engineer-in-chief, BBMP said the process of filling potholes has gained momentum following the court’s directions. “The BBMP is focusing on the East and West zones, which have more commuters,” said.

Just as BBMP officials took charge of making the city flex and hoarding free, they have prioritised filling potholes, he said.

He added that officials were working overnight and he was being constantly updated with pictures of filled potholes sent by the officials.

He also mentioned that he had no information about the number of potholes on major roads yet.

Work to fix potholes going on near Srirampura Metro station. DH photo
Late night work to fix potholes going on near Srirampura Metro station. DH photo

Prasad added, “The BBMP has never stopped filling potholes and will do its best to fill the remaining potholes in the city within the next two to three days.”

BBMP has claimed that between April and September, 15,446 potholes were identified in the city and 13,791 were filled by September 17. There has been an increase in the number of potholes over the past two months due to rains.

The PIL was filed by Vijayan Menon and others seeking directions to the BBMP to place a report on the action taken on repairing and filling potholes and also provide a mechanism to the citizens to file complaints regarding the poor condition of roads.

They have also sought directions to the BBMP to make available work contracts for construction and maintenance of roads on its websites and also a mechanism for disbursement of compensation to victims of accidents caused due to potholes.

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