Make City pothole free

Make City pothole free

The accident and death of Stuthi Pandey, a software professional, due to a pothole on a busy Bengaluru flyover is nothing short of criminal. Potholes dotted along Bengaluru’s roads are a symbol of the administration’s utter lack of accountability, corruption and a disdain for people’s safety.  The potholes – written about, castigated and made fun of – have had absolutely no impact on the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) or other agencies concerned. Officials and ministers in charge of the City’s administration have promised time and again that they will be filled. It is shocking to learn that the police have charged the husband of the victim for rash and negligent driving. How on earth did they come to such a decision? Was any radar gun used to calculate the speed? Any CCTV footage available? Why no contractor has been booked for the shoddy work? Also, why is there blame game between BBMP and BDA as to who is responsible for not maintaining the road where accident took place? Is there no clear division of responsibility? Chief Minister Siddaramaiah must take the blame for the state of roads because Bengaluru city is under his charge.

Pandey’s death is not the first. She is the latest in a long line of similar accidents that have caused death of unsuspecting commuters. What is particularly infuriating is that the officials responsible for keeping roads devoid of potholes smugly dish out all kinds of excuses, mainly the rain, to cover up for their inefficiency, corrupt behaviour and total insensitivity. It requires no great technical knowledge to infer that potholes are created in the first place due to the extremely shoddy metalling of roads, the rock bottom quality of materials used and the pocketing by a notorious axis of politicians, officials and contractors of most of the budget earmarked for a particular stretch. 

Right from contractors to corporation officials up to top politicians, it is no secret what happens to the crores of rupees budgeted for the city’s infrastructure projects. They end up in the private lockers of the corrupt. In the process, if a few lives are lost, why should the administration or the elected representatives care? As for the victims’ families, they can do nothing but grieve in private and lament at the state of affairs. A similar incident abroad would have resulted in the corporation being sued for millions of dollars. Here, people know taking recourse to a snail-paced judicial system is of no use.  Other than a small section of civil society, the rest besides pausing and taking note of such accidents, move on with their lives. On the contrary, what is needed to forever eradicate the menace of potholes is sustained exhibition of mass anger and a structured civil society approach that demands from officials a high level of transparency and a commitment to the larger public good.
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