Avenue Road traders suffer in Palike-BWSSB blame game

Overflowing manholes on the dug-up busy street affecting business

Avenue Road traders suffer  in Palike-BWSSB blame game

Shopkeepers on the Avenue Road are bearing the brunt of the blame game between two civic agencies over the poor state of the busy street.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are pointing fingers at each other for the mess that the Avenue Road has become. The problem began with the BWSSB replacing the old drainage pipes last January. Residents say the work was completed in 15-20 days in a “very haphazard” manner.

BWSSB officials say laying new pipelines from Old Kasai Road near KR Market to Mysore Bank Circle, including Avenue Road, cost around Rs 18 lakh. A total of about 175 metre was covered under the project.

Shopkeepers complain that the BWSSB workers did not clear the drainage chambers properly. “Stones were stuck in the chambers but the BWSSB didn’t bother to remove them. As the sewage water does not flow properly, the road has been dug up for removing the stones. There is total chaos during peak hours in the morning and evening.

Pedestrians struggle to move on the stretch,” said C V Krishnamurthy, former Vice President of the Avenue Road Commercial Association.

The shopkeepers point out that the lids of the chambers have not been fixed at the road level. “The chamber plates are laid five feet below the road level. It is very unscientific and will hinder sewage flow in the future,” said shopkeeper Nand Gopal C A.

The pipes had to be replaced as they were too old. There were frequent leakages and manholes overflowed regularly, a source said. “Taking a walk here can be really annoying. The narrow roads and incomplete works test your patience,” said Geetha Swami, a frequent visitor.

Business hit hard

The ongoing work has not just caused traffic chaos but also hit business hard. Moti Gulecha, a trader fumed: “Who will come for shopping on this pothole-ridden and dug-up road? We get fewer customers now. My business is down by at least 30 per cent.”
But the BWSSB has washed its hands of the issue. Its Executive Engineer, Central-1 sub-division, K Narasimhaiah, said, “We are not responsible for this mess. After we finished the work, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) began asphalting Avenue Road. They dug up the stretch upto a depth of three feet and damaged all pipelines, including the chamber plates. They finished the work but haphazardly dumped the stones and debris into the chambers,” he told Deccan Herald. “We had to dig it up again to remove the stones from the pipeline.”

However, the jurisdictional assistant executive engineer of the Palike blamed the BWSSB.
“We finished asphalting work by March and never touched any drainage pipelines nor dug up the road. Only in the last few days did the BWSSB suddenly start complaining about the obstruction in the pipeline,” he said.

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