The death of a 19-year-old medical student in Bengaluru earlier this month in an accident has brought back the spotlight back on bad roads in the city. The civic body responsible for closing potholes in the city submitted to the Karnataka high court that most roads were repaired, however, an audit conducted this month has found otherwise.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike submitted to the court that they had closed potholes on 74 roads. But a random inspection by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority officials as directed by the court in January this year, found that in close to 30 roads, only four were repaired.
“We had formed a team and did an audit of close to 30 roads and found only four to be in a good condition. The rest were bad roads either not repaired by BBMP or dug up again after repair,” said Shashidhar Shetty, member secretary, Karnataka State Legal Services Authority.
“Major problem is the convergence between departments. BBMP, BWSSB, cable operators. When BBMP builds a road, within a month other organisation comes and digs the road. New roads damaged in short period. What we suggested is there should be convergence between all department. Before BBMP tender is called, notice has to be sent to all these asking them to finish their work before building new road,” he added.
The audit was done in a span of 28 days in late January and early February. The high court during its last hearing pointed to the death of the medical student Tasdeeq Bushra who died on February 6 while trying to avoid a crater on Lingarajapuram-Hennur main road.
“Imagine people dying because of potholes on roads. Imagine the plight of the family, ” a division bench noted on February 9.
Syed Mushtaq Ahmed, father of Tasdeeq said his daughter was a law abiding citizen, a medical student who excelled in academics and had a bright future.
“What I have lost nobody can return it. This is great loss to our family, city, nation. Just because there is a bad road and vehicles drive rashly she gets killed because of no fault of hers. This should not happen to any citizen here. We are paying tax but we are not getting required infrastructure,” he said.
The court made the observation in a PIL being heard since 2015.
Following the direction of the court, the audit team had called for bad road pictures from the public through media. Of the 5,535 responses received, 4,999 were footpath issues. These footpaths were mostly blocked with construction materials or were broken and 437 were potholes.
“I have seen that report. I have directed the engineers that wherever there is a problem, it must be solved immediately,” said Manjunath Prasad, BBMP Commissioner.
The Karnataka State Legal Services Authority will submit its report of the audit during the next hearing on March 2.