Roads in Bhopal are awful – full of potholes and craters. Standard reasons given for damaged roads are rainwater, poor construction and apathy of authorities responsible for maintenance. But some departments and organisations are to be equally blamed for bad roads.
The Public Health Department digs the roads for its work but it does not care for refilling and metalling after the job is over. Of course, the department has to attend to faults in water supply lines. But it should be asked to repair the roads immediately after restoration of water supply.
However, complete restoration of the road is not possible once a road is dug out. At places where water supply lines frequently break down, the department should lay bigger pipelines under the road through which narrower ones can pass. This will obviate the need for digging roads.
Telephone service providers such as BSNL and private operators too cut roads, dig trenches parallel to roads at their free will, interrupting traffic. They should be made to repair the roads after their work is over. The municipal corporation should supervise their work and hold them responsible for repair.
Road-digger Number 3 are those who connect traffic signals. Why can’t they have pipelines at such points where traffic signals have to be connected and maintained?
Other road mutilators include tent house people who erect shamianas on roads and dig holes, construction workers, iron and steel fabricators and auto repair shops who use roads for their work.
Whenever a new road is constructed or repaired all road diggers wait for its completion before starting their own work. Why can’t all such agencies coordinate and complete their digging before the repair of roads starts. One bright Collector at Indore in the early eighties called a meeting of officers of all agencies and told them to complete their job before the start of road repair, failing which, they will be held responsible.
I suggest that a coordinated effort is made by the agencies concerned to do their digging before the actual road repair happens.
A team of officers should visit the length and breadth of Bhopal and identify where the damage is done and what could be done to rectify it. Once the roads are resurfaced or repaired, permission from a very high authority should be obtained for any cutting thereafter. The officer in charge of the municipal zone and its sub-zone should be made answerable if any damage to roads happens in their zone or sub-zone.
The burning of Holi and erection of shamianas on roads should be banned. We wish to claim that Bhopal is a beautiful city with excellent roads and wonderful surroundings. Cooperation from all stakeholders is required to maintain the beauty of the city.
Dr S K Kulshrestha