Political Diary Karnataka

Government needs to focus on Bengaluru’s infrastructure requirements

A potholed road in Bengaluru.

A potholed road in Bengaluru.  

The heavy rains in the city during the end of the southwest monsoon expose the glaring loopholes.

The heavy rains in Bengaluru during the end of the southwest monsoon, which stretched for an extended period and way beyond the normal schedule, have caused untold suffering to the people, and the onus is now on the authorities to get the road infrastructure back in shape, failing which the governing Congress will earn the wrath of the electorate during the ensuing elections to the Legislative Assembly.

As such, Bengalureans are unhappy with the shoddy manner in which the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been overseeing the relief operations in the areas inundated following the heavy rains. The day is not far when the Chief Minister may announce a special financial package for the repair and improvements to the road infrastructure of Bengaluru since the State capital has never witnessed a downpour of the kind for nearly a century. Allocating funds for road improvements may not be a major concern but then to ensure that the money is appropriately utilised is an all-important factor, given the high level of corruption that prevails in the system.

The BBMP has been quick in indicating the number of potholes on the city roads (16,000), although there is no way to cross-check on how it has arrived at such a huge number, more so, since officials are hand in glove with the contractors engaged in such works along with the elected representatives (municipal councillors), and repairing potholes in itself is a huge amount of money. All of them team up only with the sole aim of siphoning off as much as possible of the money allocated rather than focusing attention on quality work in the interest of the citizens of Bengaluru.

Although there are large-scale complaints on the crumbling infrastructure of Bengaluru, credit should also be given to the incumbent government for commencing what is known as TenderSURE work (quality corridors) which is closely monitored, and the road infrastructure thus created will last a long time. Added to this is the commissioning of the phase one of the metro rail which has emerged as a good mass transit system.

The Chief Minister, and president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee G. Parameshwara are well aware of the pitfalls and lapses in the administration of Bengaluru, particularly the lack of accountability among the civic agencies; while it is for the former to crack the whip and ensure that the system delivers, it is for the latter to ensure that Bengaluru as a prime constituency — with 28 seats in the Legislative Assembly — remains with the Congress. In the last elections, the Congress won 13 seats, three were won by the Janata Dal (S) and eleven by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BBMP council is now under the control of the Congress and the JD(S).

It should be noted that the Bengaluru revenue division with nine districts commands a total of 79 seats in the Assembly. The adjoining districts of Bengaluru — Chickballapur, Kolar and Ramanagaram — which normally receive scanty rainfall have recently enjoyed bountiful rains and the farmers who provide vegetables and fruits to the markets in Bengaluru are more than happy, with lakes in the districts filled to the brim. While the Congress needs to work hard to meet the expectations of Bengalureans, it is expected to receive a good response in the other districts of the revenue division.

(The writer is Resident Representative, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Bengaluru)

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:28:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/government-needs-to-focus-on-bengalurus-infrastructure-requirements/article19892444.ece

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