Days after citizens held protests on the pathetic condition of roads in Bengaluru, a physically challenged senior citizen was killed while he was reportedly trying to navigate a pothole on Manganahalli Main Road, near Vishveshwarya Layout, on Monday night.
The deceased, 75-year-old Khurshid Ahmed Khan, lived alone in Bismillah Nagar, and sold hats and artificial jewellery sets by the street side. He was returning home after work Monday night on his scooter rigged up with two additional wheels for support. According to the police, while trying to navigate a pothole, which was filled with rain water, he lost his balance and fell down. He sustained severe head injuries and died on the spot.
Incidentally, after complaints from motorists and pedestrians on the health hazard posed by pothole-ridden roads, the administration decided to set up task forces at the zonal level and even set a month-end deadline to fill all potholes.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who also holds charge of Bengaluru Development, said the issue had come up during the review meeting he chaired last week, and the civic commissioner had been instructed to take up work of filling potholes and redo bad stretches on a war footing after the monsoon recedes.
Accountability and blame game
There was confusion among the city’s agencies as to under whose jurisdiction Manganahalli Main Road falls, perhaps indicating why the road was in such a condition. Chief Civic Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said BBMP was not maintaining the road.
According to sources, there was confusion within the Bangalore Development Authority. It was only later in the day that BDA Commissioner Rajesh Gowda acknowledged that the development authority was responsible for maintaining the road.
However, the BDA blamed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for the condition of the road. “BWSSB has cut the road to lay some pipeline. It is the contractor’s job to redo the road and bring it back to motorable condition. We are checking on this specific case. The compacting done may have given way due to traffic and rains. We will fix it as soon as possible,” said Rajesh Gowda.
Kamakshipalya Traffic Police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence against BDA officials under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code and for rash driving against the deceased under Section 279 of IPC. When asked why a case had been booked against the deceased as well, Kuldeep Kumar R. Jain, DCP (Traffic West) said: “The rider was coming from the wrong side, so there was mistake from both ends.”