Pothole-riddled roads are not the only problem that Bengaluruâ€™s motorists are witnessing. Commuters are now stuck with uneven manhole chambers, which are posing threats to two-wheeler riders in the city. According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), there are over 3000 manhole chambers mostly in the South and West zones that have been labelled as dangerous. However, an inter-agency feud has resulted in the issue not being addressed, posing a risk to motorists.
According to BBMP Chief Engineer in-charge of road infrastructure development, S Somashekar, 3,240 manhole chambers in the city are either below or above the road level, which is posing a threat to many motorists.
â€śWe have received several complaints over the last few weeks. A joint inspection by BBMP and BWSSB (Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board) officials was conducted and a count of such dangerous manhole chambers was made. These are mostly located in South and West zone. But there are dangerous manhole chambers across the city,â€ť Somashekar said.
According to BWSSB figures, there are 2,04,702 manholes located in over 6,000 km of the cityâ€™s roads. In addition, 4,830 manholes are being managed by Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL), BSNL and broadband network companies that lay optic fibre cables underground.
â€śIt is the task of those maintaining manhole chambers to ensure that the chamberâ€™s opening is levelled with the roads. As potholes develop, and roads are repaired, these chambers tend to get uneven. If the chamber opening is higher than the road level, it causes unnecessary road bumps. In most of these 3000-odd cases, the chambers are below the road level, making them look like deep potholes in the middle of the roads,â€ť Somashekar added.
The BBMP has submitted these figures to Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar at the co-ordination committee meeting held last week.
However, BWSSB officials now claim that BBMP did not conduct any joint inspection and has not submitted a list of areas and street names where these inspections were conducted to BWSSB.
Speaking to TNM, BWSSB Chief Engineer Kemparamaiah says that the agency has finished leveling over 17,000 manhole chambers since this year after a joint inspection was conducted in February. However, Kemparamaiah alleges that BBMP came up with a new figure of 3,240 uneven manhole chambers, for which no joint inspection was conducted.
â€śBBMP and BWSSB conducted the joint survey and identified 17,000 manhole chambers to be uneven in February. We just finished that work last week and submitted the report to the Chief Secretary. But during that meeting, BBMP said that another joint inspection was conducted and 3,240 additional chambers were identified. But there was no joint inspection for this. We have been asking BBMP to give us. Obviously the people will suffer but BBMP should care enough,â€ť Kemparamaiah added.
However, BBMP officials say that BWSSB was issued a notice weeks ago and that the agency's laxity had resulted in the works not being carried out.
"We had sent notices to BWSSB stating the names of the roads and areas weeks ago. The works have not been completed. We are receiving so many complaints on WhatsApp and Twitter about the sewage flowing on roads and the manhole chambers posing a threat to motorists," a senior BBMP official said.