BBMP Administrator Gaurav Gupta and Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad were left fuming on Friday at the failure of officials to plug the potholes on the roads after the heavy rain.
At a review meeting on the pothole situation held in the IPP Training Centre in Malleswaram, the civic top brass asked zonal officials to focus on filling up the holes rather than giving excuses.
The meeting brought to light officials’ negligence in taking up roadworks across the city almost a week after rain left large potholes on several major roads.
Citing the poor quality of pothole-filling by contractors, the BBMP had set up a hot-mix plant for Rs 7.5 crore at a 4.5-acre area near Kannur. The civic body had also taken over the pothole-filling work. Now though, it has emerged that officials did not utilise the plant, set up at a high cost at a time when the civic body is seriously cash-strapped.
“We have our own plant to produce the asphalt, but officials didn’t use it to the full capacity,” Gupta noted, directing officials to submit zone-wise indent placed for the hot-mix and the quantity of the hot-mix supplied to the zones.
‘Stop giving excuses’
Prasad was at a loss to understand why the hot-mix plant, capable of producing 50 to 60 truckloads of asphalt, only produced 10 loads every day.
“I can’t understand why you cannot utilise the facility and fill up the potholes,” he said. “I agree that rain had hindered the work last week, but officials should stop giving excuses and attend to the pothole work as a priority.”
The BBMP has to maintain 1,300 km of major roads besides attending to the minor and arterial roads across the city. This apart, it has to repair and fill up the potholes along the roads where white-topping and TenderSURE works are underway to facilitate smooth traffic flow. The civic body has currently given labour-only contracts for pothole-filling work at all zones, while the asphalt is being supplied by the hot-mix plant.
Are officials disregarding the administrator’s words?
BBMP Administrator Gaurav Gupta has been personally visiting infrastructure projects and pulling up officials.
But Friday’s meeting revealed that his efforts did not produce the desired change in BBMP officials.
A case in point was his visit to the hot-mix plant on October 7. He had then rapped the officials for their inaction. He asked officials to maintain a logbook to record the zone-wise demand for hot-mix and the actual quantity supplied.
Observing that the plant was not utilised to its full capacity, Gupta had warned them not to give excuses like rain and manpower shortage. Almost a month later, officials remained indifferent to the directions of the top brass.