'Pothole patcher useless for City roads, discard it'

Corporators cutting across party lines have rejected the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) plan to use Python 5000, the much-talked-about pothole patching machine on which Rs 17.37 crore are proposed to be spent.

Among those who opposed the use of the machine, introduced in the City by American Road Technology and Solutions Pvt Ltd, were Corporator-turned-MLA Munirathna Naidu and B Somashekar, the chairperson of the BBMP’s Major Works Committee. The strong opposition to the machine emerged during the meeting of the BBMP Council on Monday.

Considering the objections, BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana announced the setting up of a committee, comprising the chief engineer, the executive engineer, the Palike’s technical advisory committee and an outside agency to verify the quality of work executed in one package in East Zone.

Raising the issue, the JD(S) Floor Leader in the Council, R Prakash, said the bitumen laid on potholes had been peeling off. Nandini Layout Corporator M Nagaraj supported Prakash and urged the Mayor, B S Satyanarayana, to stop the work as it would be a financial burden on the BBMP as the machine was of “no use”.

Stressing how “useless” the machine was, Munirathna, the Rajarajeshwari Nagar MLA, said the temperature of bitumen at the time of filling pothole should be 130 degrees Celsius to sustain the weather, but the machine could heat up the bitumen only up to 40-45 degrees Celsius.

“In the winter, the temperature of bitumen should be at least 145 degrees Celsius,” Munirathna pointed out. “The machine does not have space to hold the huge quantity of bitumen and heat it up. (It is) better (to) scrap the project in the interests of the BBMP.”

BBMP Superintending Engineer K T Nagaraj supported the use of the machine but corporators rejected his logic. Nagaraj told the Council that payments were not made based on the number of potholes filled but Rs 85,000 per km.

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