At least 2,000 kms of roads in the city are damaged or have potholes, according to the state government, which have cost many lives over the years. (Samuel Rajkumar)
At least 2,000 kms of roads in the city are damaged or have potholes, according to the state government, which have cost many lives over the years. (Samuel Rajkumar)

Data shows potholes in 1,332-km Bengaluru roads

The statement comes barely hours after another life was snuffed out on a potholed road, prompting citizens and activists to allege that the BBMP and other civic agencies make lofty promises and waste tax money every year.
By Sharan Poovana, Bengaluru
PUBLISHED ON SEP 08, 2021 12:35 AM IST

Damaged or potholed roads and traffic snarls have become a nightmare for over 12 million residents of Bengaluru, people and activists say, even as the government has given the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) a deadline to complete all pothole-covering works by September 30.

At least 2,000 kms of roads in the city are damaged or have potholes, according to the state government, which have cost many lives over the years.

“I had done a review the day before. I have told the BBMP to cover the potholes after the rains slow down. In the coming days, we will take this up on a war footing,” Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Tuesday.

The statement comes barely hours after another life was snuffed out on a potholed road, prompting citizens and activists to allege that the BBMP and other civic agencies make lofty promises and waste tax money every year.

The BBMP has a budget outlay of 9,287.81 crore for 2021-22. But 9.4 million vehicles crawl through the city’s killer roads. On Monday night, a 75-year-old differently abled man died after his two-wheeler hit a pothole in Kamakshipalya locality.

“There is one incident that has come to our attention. It is a layout that comes under the BDA (Bengaluru Development Authority) and the incident took place on the road there. This should have definitely not happened but it has come to our attention,” BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said.

An old tactic used by the civic agencies is to blame each other for the mess on the roads. The BBMP has often blamed the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bengaluru Electric Supply Company (BESCOM), among others, for digging up roads without permission and abandoning them after completion of their work.

The BBMP is now trying to use an app (Geostamp) to monitor the covering of these potholes as a measure to streamline the work and speed up completion of an exercise that is taken up periodically in the city in the garb of development.

All works taken up by the BBMP’s pothole-covering exercise will have to be uploaded in this app, officials said, including pictures, details of area covered among others in a bid to bring in transparency and efficiency.

Karnataka’s revenue minister R Ashok said on Monday that 1,332 kms of major roads in the city are damaged because of potholes. Of the 85,791 number of roads in the over 198 wards in the city, 2653 (or 887 kms) are in poor condition by the government’s own admission.

The government has given the BBMP a deadline to complete all pothole-covering works by September 30.

V Ravichandar, an urban expert, said that the dug up roads make Bengaluru look like a “Mohenjo-daro excavation.”

“Anywhere you drive, it is impossible to drive without potholes. It has become kind of a Mohenjo-daro excavation city which is perpetually dug up,” the urban expert earlier told Hindustan Times.

The potholes and poor roads have even become a canvas for creative art work.

Badal Nanjundaswamy, a renowned artist, recreated a simulation of an astronaut walking a crater-filled road in September 2019 that was dubbed “moonwalk”, which became global headlines for bringing to light the perennial and basic infrastructure challenges of a city that has been called India’s IT, technology, startup and aerospace capital.

Nanjundaswamy has over the years created nearly 50 art works to get the attention of civic agencies, which include a mermaid in a water-filled pothole, a plastic yet realistic crocodile, a picture of Lord Yama or the god of death according to Hindu mythology painted around an open man-hole, among other pieces of art, that trend online but has, at least so far, had little impact on the agencies like BBMP.

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