The gaping traps

Potholed roads

The gaping traps

Have you ever driven on a highway and marvelled at the effortless ride, wishing that the roads were as smooth in the city as well? Well, it will be a long wait. With the increasing number of patched-up roads and potholes in Bengaluru, helped in no small measure by official apathy, a hassle-free rides remains a distant dream for most commuters.

Dharini Dilip Kumar, a resident of Jeevan Bima Nagar, says that despite repeated complaints from residents, the authorities are not concerned about the bad state of the roads.

“I think the last time the officials decided to repair the roads was during the elections and they did a shoddy job on that too. With the rains here now, we feel like we were back to square one,” she says.

Sometimes the residents in her apartment pooled in money to get workers to fix the potholes. “But that didn’t turn out too well as the BBMP wasn’t comfortable with private contractors doing their job. However, they didn’t bother coming back and
fixing the problem either,” she adds.

However there is still a ray of hope in the form of a good samaritan who has made it his personal agenda to make this city a pothole-free one. Popularly known as ‘Pothole Raja’, Prathaap Bhimasena Rao claims to have filled more than 200 potholes in less than a year.

He explains, “For a long time I waited for the BBMP to do something about the pathetic condition of the roads but I felt like everyone was just passing the buck. So I decided to do something about it without waiting for the government anymore.”
He researched about the issue and consulted many engineering professors to understand how roads are constructed and repaired in other countries.

 “I found out that they used hot asphalt but it was not cost-efficient for patchwork, which is a common activity in India. So I teamed with a startup to produce cold asphalt which is long-lasting and not as expensive. All you need is a person to fill the hole and run a vehicle over it a couple of times. It can even be stored for up to 10 months.”

Prathaap also collaborated with radio channel ‘Fever 104 FM’ for a two-week project; something that even the RJs were enthusiastic about.

RJ Sriram Sullia of the radio station says, “Every evening we used to get calls from people complaining about the terrible roads in the city and the dangers they posed for commuters. So we took the initiative to fix potholes in areas like Koramangala, JP Nagar and Indiranagar and started this program. Once a caller informs us about a pothole in a particular area, the RJs, alongwith Prathaap and a few volunteers, will go there and repair it.”

As for the residents who haven’t been graced by a visit from these samaritans, they still have to brave the bumpy roads to reach their destinations.

Kanisha Gulwadi resides in Arekere Mico Layout and often travels to JP Nagar with her kids. She says, “I have become used to the bad roads in the city by now. It was either  that or give up travelling, which is, unfortunately, not an option.”

However, Kanisha is still hopeful that the government will do something about the situation.

     She explains, “Now that they have received funding for a cleanup drive, the issue should be fixed. Then again, we can’t blame the government all the time; the citizens are also equally responsible. If things have to change, citizens too have to do their bit to ensure efficient maintenance of the infrastructure. Having said that, it is about time the BBMP also woke up from its slumber and did something for the city and its people,” she notes

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