Given the incessant rains lashing the city and the deteriorating condition of roads, the city’s civic body had imposed a three-month ban on all road digging in the city, except ongoing works. However, ever since the ban was imposed two weeks ago, several utilities have sought exemptions and dug up roads even as Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) continue to dig roads illegally to lay Optic Fibre Cables (OFCs) unabated, making the three-month ban dead on arrival.
The Kommaghatta Main Road in Kengeri, newly relaid ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on June 20, was dug up by TSPs to lay OFCs. “The road was dug up just days after the PM’s visit and was relaid again. Neither was the TSP stopped nor was it penalised for digging up a newly relaid road,” said Prashanth Kumar, a resident of the area, adding that the same TSP was now digging inner ward roads in the area with no civic official stopping them.
Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath conceded that TSPs were violating the ban on road digging in the city. “There is a clear ban on road digging and we have instructed all zonal commissioners to book criminal cases against TSPs if they are found digging up roads,” he said. Recently, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) booked a criminal case against representatives of Reliance Jio for digging a recently relaid road near Lal Bagh. However, in many other instances, no cases are being booked.
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BWSSB, Bescom also seek exemption
Meanwhile, parastatals like the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) have also sought exemptions and have begun several works, undermining the three-month ban, sources said.
Mr. Giri Nath said the civic body had initially given an exemption for Bescom and BWSSB to carry out only Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) — drilling underground and not an open trench cutting the road — to provide connection to individual houses. “However, BWSSB cannot provide connections to individual houses through HDD, so they are digging up roads,” Mr. Giri Nath said.
The BWSSB and Bescom have also sought exemptions from the ban citing the critical nature of works. “Following requests, we have sought a list of important works these utilities want to take up on a priority basis. Once these lists are made available to us, we will allow works where it doesn’t affect the traffic flow, road condition and the residents much,” Mr. Giri Nath said. However, there are several places, such as the Gangadhar Chetty Road adjoining Ulsoor Lake, where BWSSB has already started new works and dug up the road.