The BBMP itself has identified 2,150 potholes on 2,000 km of arterial and sub-arterial roads but appears to be dragging its feet over filling them.
Reams and reams have been written about Bangalore’s infamous potholed roads but no amount of public outrage has prodded the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) into action.
A senior traffic police officer candidly said that more than half our roads are unmotorable. “We have identified over 500 roads that are not motorable due to potholes and have informed the BBMP authorities, but nothing has been done so far,” the official said and pointed out that the roads have worsened after the monsoon.
The BBMP itself has identified 2,150 potholes on 2,000 km of arterial and sub-arterial roads but appears to be dragging its feet over filling them. Additional Commissioner of Police M.A. Saleem said that his department informs the BBMP about road condition whenever it receives complaints.
Agencies at odds
So why are our roads so bad? A senior BBMP official blames lack of coordination between the various civic agencies. “The BBMP maintains the roads. However, the other agencies such as Bangalore Electricity Supply Company and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board don’t seek our permission and dig roads indiscriminately and don’t restore the road after that,” he said. But the official conceded the agencies meet regularly to improve coordination.
A big factor is lack of funds for road maintenance and repair. Mere filling of potholes is not maintenance, the official said. Hinting at corruption, he said that the BBMP does not insist that the contractors lay a “maintenance layer” of asphalt. “With this, the road’s life is extended by at least two years. This also saves the crores the BBMP will have to spend to strengthen and re-lay the entire road,” he said.
The official also cited the BBMP’s failure to strengthen its Traffic Engineering Cell. The cell, in coordination with the Traffic Department, is supposed to draw up plans to improve road conditions and remove unscientific speed-breakers. “The cell, which has enormous responsibility, is not given enough grants, neither has the staff strength improved. This is the reason why it is all but defunct now,” he said.