Perennially pestering potholes

It is a battlefield out there on the roads for motorists, pedestrians

Perennially pestering potholes

In 2013, Sunish Jauhari had moved an online petition to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) against the back-breaking potholes of the City. To shake up the empathy of an otherwise indifferent Palike authorities, he had put up the pictures of a bed-ridden girl and a comatose youth in a hospital with serious head injuries.

Two years down the line, things have turned from bad to worse, showing no signs of improvement. This is when the monsoon is about to gain momentum in the City.

Talking to Deccan Herald on Tuesday, the BBMP Engineer-in-Chief M R Venkatesh admitted the presence of 2,200 potholes in the City. In June, the Palike had come out with a figure of 2,631 potholes in its jurisdiction. “We are working on a war-footing to fill these potholes,” said Venkatesh.

Statistics show the state of affairs – In two months, only 400 potholes could be filled. A senior Palike engineer opined that new potholes might have surfaced due to rains. The Palike administration is making sincere efforts to make the City roads motorable, he said.
Here is an example of a sincere effort to make City roads motorable. Between the BBMP’s much tom-tommed TenderSURE Road and Vittal Mallya Road, there is a vacuum road, which is not even walkable, let alone motorable.

There is a Pothole Junction where Mahatma Gandhi Road and Kasturba Road converge, a spot adjacent to the St Marks Cathedral. Here’s another example: A few weeks ago, potholes on Kasturba Road were filled, but soon the asphalt gave way and the road is back to its old state.

Church Street, which symbolises ‘Brand Bengaluru of ambitious India,’ resembles an orphaned land.

It is a road where many pubs, bars and eateries are located. Sewage overflows on the road as the underground drainage lines are completely choked.

Street vendors have occupied the place where footpaths used to exist. You need to spot a road between the potholes. Ironically, this stinking road houses the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) head office.

These are some of the areas identified as motorists’ nightmare: Magadi Road, Kamakshipalya Road, road behind Binny Mills, Sampige Road, Infantry Road, Shivajinagar, Car Street in Ulsoor, roads along the Metro rail corridor, KR Market, Kalasipalya Bus Stand, Mysuru Road, Kanakapura Road, between Seshadripuram and Shivananda Circle, BHEL Road, Sanjay Nagar Main Road, Basaveshwara Nagar Main Road,  Sankey Road near Cauvery Theatre, rad between National Games Village and Vivek Nagar Main Road.

Mechanised pothole filling

The problem of potholes was so challenging for the BBMP that it roped in the ‘Python 5000’ machine to fill the potholes. The machine is still in use and is being deployed to fill the road patches on arterial and sub-arterial roads of the City.

A Palike engineer said, “The cost of using the machine per km is Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000, per annum. It is being operated in all the core areas in Palike limits.” He added that hot mix concrete is used in the machine.

However, this equipment has failed to satisfy the residents. Federation for North East Bengaluru Residents Welfare Association Executive President D S Rajshekhar said that the machine might have been used on an experimental basis, but not on an extensive scale. He added: “In east zone, the machine was never used and most of the main roads, specially, Banaswadi Main Road, 80 feet Road at Kalyan Nagar continue to be in a deteriorated state.”

Former Kaveripura ward councillor R Prakash, who had earlier opposed the machine’s use in the BBMP Council, said: “The  machine is a waste of money as it is not being used effectively. In my ward, it was never used. Not just me, all the councillors and even the officers from BBMP Major Roads department had opposed it. But the former Commissioner, Lakshminarayana, under whose tenure the machine was introduced had insisted that the machine be kept operational.” He added that the machine is faulty and does not have proper boiling point that leads to bad patch work.

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