'Other agencies' dig up roads, Palike boss tells HC

'Other agencies' dig up roads, Palike boss tells HC

'Other agencies' dig up roads, Palike boss tells HC

If a counter affidavit filed in the High Court is to be believed, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been taking “all appropriate steps” to make the City’s roads motorable but frequent development works taken up by other civic amenity agencies, coupled with heavy rains, are “spoiling” the measures. 

He further said the Palike had begun restoring (sic) potholes “as per the Indian Road Congress and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways specifications by adopting machinery in 1,940-km arterial and sub-arterial roads.” 

In the affidavit, the BBMP Commissioner, M Lakshminarayana, has sworn: “...maintenance of roads is an ongoing process. It is not that the BBMP has not taken care of maintenance... There are various other factors which result in deterioration of quality of roads.” 

The affidavit was filed in response to a contempt of court petition by K N Subba Reddy, president of the Advocates Association, Bangalore (AAB), who sought action against the BBMP for “not implementing” the High Court orders of February 2, 2012. The court had then formed an expert committee, headed by Captain S Raja Rao, which made 112 recommendations to ensure good roads. Reddy named Chief Secretary, S V Ranganath, the first respondent. Lakshminarayana was the second respondent. 

The counsel for Reddy, A V Amarnathan, argued that if the BBMP had implemented the recommendations, the City would not have had a single pothole. The BBMP was spending more money in filling potholes as the recommendations were not implemented, he contended. In reply, the BBMP maintained that it was not responsible for bad roads. 

Lakshminarayana said agencies such as Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) had taken up several works and “the roads are being dug up day in and day out for laying water supply pipes, sewer lines, electricity cables, etc”. 

“That apart, at various places, roads are being dug up for maintenence of existing pipelines,” he said, adding that the agencies in question had “caused great damage to roads built by the BBMP”. Heavy rains and overflowing manholes were also damaging roads, he stressed. 

According to Lakshminarayana, a recent BBMP Council meeting approved an action plan for asphalting and improving about 400 km of roads and it will be “tackled in (a) phased manner, ensuring better quality roads”. “I further submit that the restoring (sic) of potholes will be completed early,” he said. 

The Palike also initiated action on maintenence of roads and was taking advice from its technical advisory committee—consisting of experts in field roads and highways. Besides, it would appoint project management consultants to supervise quality and quantity, and they would submit periodical reports on execution of works. 

The BBMP commissioner argued that the contempt petition was “bald, vague and does not point out violations he is alleged to have committed with regard to the committee’s recommendations”. “The complainant has made sweeping allegations without placing any materials before the court,” he added, seeking dismissal of the petition.  

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