The High Court on Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Chief Engineer, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Karnataka division, to inspect the works of pothole filling, road repair and resurfacing of the roads carried out by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) in various parts of the city.
The inspection should be conducted to find out whether the terms of work orders were adhered to by the private contractors, engaged by the BBMP while executing the works, whether the quality of works is satisfactory.
Also, the court told the Chief Engineer, NHAI, to make an independent assessment of these works and give his suggestion for improvement besides pointing out dereliction of duty on the part of the officers/engineers of the BBMP in maintaining standards in road works.
While leaving the option to NHAI’s Chief Engineer either to carry out the inspection personally or assign the task to senior engineer of the NHAI, and the court directed him to submit a comprehensive report within four weeks.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order while hearing PIL petition filed by Vijayan Menon and three other residents of the city on the issue of poor maintenance of city roads.
However, the Bench made it clear that this order should not be treated as stoppage of roadworks, and the ongoing pothole filling, road repair and resurface works can go on till further orders.
The Bench found it necessary to involve an independent third party to assess the works after noticing that the works executed by the private contractors are being assessed and certified only by the engineers of the BBMP.
The private contractors as well as the BBMP have been directed to cooperate with the NHAI for conducting inspection of the roads.
‘No positive changes’
“It can only be said that in spite of various orders passed by this court and pendency of the PIL petition for more than 6-7 years there is no positive outcome. The observations made in earlier orders have remained only on papers. Road condition in the city even after span of 6 years not positively changed, and unfortunate suffers of this situation are citizens of Bengaluru city,” the court observed.
The Bench also noted that several unfortunate incidents in which precious lives of citizens were lost due to potholes, which was one of the reason why the petitioners had filed the petition seeking direction for proper mechanism for maintaining roads in good condition.