HC-appointed panel finds misreporting in pothole number

HC-appointed panel finds misreporting in pothole number

A high court-appointed panel on Thursday found discrepancies in the number of potholes reported by the BBMP and the figures found in the measurement records.

The process has further been muddied by improper documentation.

The two-member panel made the observation in its second preliminary report to the court after inspecting the wards in Mahalakshmi Layout and Malleswaram.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a petition filed by Vijayan Menon and others, asking the court to direct the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to provide an action taken report on repairing and filling the potholes.

The petitioners have also asked the court’s direction to the BBMP to set up a complaining mechanism for citizens on the poor condition of the city roads. Also missing in the measurement books are details on Wet Mix Macadam (WMM), a new method in which aggregates are mixed with water to produce a paste to fill the pothole.

The report offered a respite to the BBMP by saying it did not find major potholes in the inspected areas, though a few minor ones needed to be patched. It said drain openings are without gratings and the inlets were found to be blocked in a few places.

The report expressed concern over documentation and noted: “There is improper documentation of test reports, which gives leeway for ground executives to obtain
these reports anytime from the lab.”

The report could not verify the contract agreement or the tender schedule as it could not find the document.

It also noted that the bituminous content found in both places were more than the prescribed specifications of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The bench observed during the hearing that Bengaluru’s roads have become “as smooth as butter”. With the passage of time, the pothole menace has multiplied and it needs to be addressed.  

It also held the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board “equally” culpable for the problems. The court asked the BBMP to file a response to the second preliminary report, and postponed the hearing to October 6.

Meanwhile, submitting its report on the first preliminary report, the BBMP said the urban traffic conditions and rain hampered the work.

As per the Indian Road Congress guidelines, it has been proposed to fill the potholes at 23 locations with bituminous concrete, a sub-base material, before patching with wearing coat, the Palike said.

The repair work on potholes needed 24 hours to stabilise, which could not be achieved due to persisting traffic. The civic body also added that the rain further exacerbated the situation.

Responding to mentions in the first report that potholes were filled with mud, the BBMP said the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board dug up the roads and put them back with mud, adding that the onus of rectifying those roads falls on the BWSSB.

A lot of such issues where the BWSSB had cut the roads should be resolved by the water board, the civic body added.

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