Protesters lock PWD office in Bagepalli

Department accused of showing indifference towards development issues

A procession involving hundreds of activists started from H N Circle and walked down the main road, calling out slogans against the PWD, the Town Municipal Council and Bescom officials.

DYFI district president Chennarayappa and his team also sang revolution anthems along with playing the ‘tamate’.

They later settled down outside the PWD office and shouted slogans against officers who had 'failed to widen roads, prevent roads from turning dusty and allowed illegal construction of buildings.'

The procession prevented movement of vehicles on the narrow main road for some time.

Disobeying the HC

Addressing the protesters, Chennarayappa said the Karnataka High Court has ordered road-widening. But the work has not been completed in major places occupied by people, including the roads leading from the TMC shops opposite the KSRTC bus stand till Gangamma Temple.

“The authorities should make movement of traffic easier by demolishing the shops outside the Government Hospital. The main road in the town needs underground drainage facility. The non-functional electric poles should be taken off,” he added.

“The authorities should urge the Government to release about Rs nine crore for developmental work on the main road immediately. They tried to fill the potholes on the main road with a mixture of mud and cement, but the condition of the road has only worsened. They should therefore try to repair the damage,” Chennarayappa demanded.

Promises by officers

Learning of the protest, PWD district engineer Basavaraj, Bagepalli PWD engineer Malleshappa, Town Municipal Council chief officer Sudhakar, Bescom assistant engineer Vivek rushed to the spot and listened to the woes of the protesters.

Reacting to the complaints of the people, Basavaraj said the Bagepalli main road has now been converted into a State Highway. Therefore, a memorandum has been submitted to the Government demanding Rs nine crores for construction of underground drainage system, proper footpath and other development work. The main road will be developed and made convenient for public use as soon as the funds are released, he informed.

The CPI(M) activists, however, insisted that the officers at least ensure that the roads are no longer dusty and are asphalted, covering the potholes.

The Town Municipal Council chief officer Sudhakar assured the protesters that the roads will be cleared of the mud.

Short-cut

Sub-inspector J N Anand Kumar, however, interrupted and said, “Clearing away the mud is not necessary, it would be enough if water is sprayed on the roads a couple of times to settle the dust.”

When the police officer promised them that the dysfunctional electric poles would be pulled down and senior officers will be informed that work on widening the roads needs to be started, the protesters calmed down and withdrew the protest.

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