Home minister comes to govt's defence on bad roads

Home minister comes to govt's defence on bad roads

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Friday defended the government on the poor state of roads in Bengaluru and accused the BJP of indulging in politics.

“It started raining from August 14. The rainfall has been unprecedented in the last 30 years,” said Reddy, who was earlier the minister in charge of Bengaluru. “Roads in Chennai and Hyderabad also get damaged after heavy rain,” he added.

According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the number of potholes in the city has gone up to 33,621, an almost four-fold increase from around 9,000 last month. “There were fewer potholes before the rains started on August 14,” Reddy said. “Contractors are ready to take up work, but incessant rain is an impediment.”

Asked if the government will act against contractors for substandard road work, Reddy said Bengaluru Development Minister K J George would do so. “George is the city minister now and I will cooperate with him.”

He took a dig at BJP leaders B S Yeddyurappa and R Ashoka, who staged a protest by painting potholes and planting saplings in them on Thursday. “Yeddyurappa is a former chief minister and Ashoka was deputy chief minister. It is wrong on their part to indulge in such cheap politics. Instead, as the opposition party, BJP should work with the government to fix the problem,” he said.

“BJP has 100 councillors and 12 MLAs. Why aren’t they fixing roads? The government has given funds to BJP-represented constituencies such as CV Raman Nagar (Rs 99 crore), Hebbal (Rs 37 crore), Rajajinagar (Rs 71 crore), Basavanagudi (Rs 31 crore), Padmanabhanagar (Rs 114 crore) and Mahadevapura (Rs 207 crore),” Reddy said.

The ruling Congress had released Rs 3,750 crore for civic infrastructure, of which Rs 1,750 crore had been spent. “Works for the remaining funds are under way, including white-topping,” he added.

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