Overflowing manhole irks traders, shoppers at Avenue Rd

Overflowing manhole riles traders, shoppers at Avenue Road

With no civic official to solve the issue, shoppers and traders, wading through the sewage pooing on the road, were seen cursing the officials

Sewage water overflows from a clogged manhole on the busy Avenue Road. Credit: DH Photo/ S K Dinesh

An overflowing manhole flooding the busy Avenue Road at the city’s heart has shocked traders and shoppers already affected by the snail-paced civic work by BenSCL.

Seen overflowing in the morning, the clogged network remained unattended throughout the day. With no civic official to solve the issue, shoppers and traders, wading through the sewage pooing on the road, were seen cursing the officials.

They riled against the Bengaluru Smart City Limited (BenSCL) engineers. “The road hardly has a proper footpath for pedestrians or shoppers to walk along. Now, the sewage is overflowing. How will the customers enter the shop if this is the situation?” questioned a bookshop owner on the stretch.

“Smart City project works have to be done in a smart way without affecting business,” trade activist Sajjan Raj Mehta said.

“Despite constant reminders, only some roads have been fully developed, that too, at the intervention of local leaders. Traders are already hit by the Covid-induced lockdown and are again affected by this situation,” he added, pointing out: “The volume of business has come down drastically.”

A wholesale saree trader on the stretch said the slow pace of work has crushed any hope of good business during the festive season.

“We had pinned our hopes on Dasara and Deepavali season. But the dug up roads and lack of footpath drove the shoppers away. Now, this prolonged delay and poor maintenance of the utilities has affected us badly,” he said.

BenSCL engineers asserted that the sewage overflow is a temporary problem. “Traders shove waste down the open drains (in the stretch), which may have blocked the sewage network,” an engineer overseeing the work here said, insisting that they clean the drain every night before starting work.

The engineer also said 75% of the work on the stretch is over and they hope to wrap up the remaining work by February 2022. When the work began in January this year, traders were promised that it would be over by June. In reality though, the work shows no sign of completion.

“It is nearly impossible to work during the day due to heavy footfall on the road,” said a BenSCL official, explaining the delay.

“It was earlier supposed to be asphalted, but later (authorities) decided to white-top the roads.”

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