Earlier this month, around 15 new mechanical sweepers were inaugurated by the BBMP amid much fanfare, taking the total fleet size of the machines to 25.

Bought for crores are Bengalurus mechanical sweepers lying idle Video accuses soFile photo of mechanical sweeper
news Civic issues Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 14:46

Kavitha Reddy, a Bengaluru-based activist and a former member of Karnataka Congress’s Campaign Committee, on Wednesday, questioned the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the BJP-led government in Karnataka over non-usage of the mechanical sweepers, that the civic body recently purchased to clean the city’s roads. 

In a video uploaded to Twitter, Kavitha is seen standing beside a line of mechanical sweepers parked at a service road in Bengaluru’s HSR layout and questioning why the BBMP bought the machines if they were not planning to use them. 

“For the past two years, there are 16 mechanical sweepers standing on a service road in HSR Layout. Every day I come by, and they are still standing here, without being used,” Kavitha says in the video. “Three or four days ago, these same, old sweepers were repainted and inaugurated as new by the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. But these same sweepers are still standing here,” she adds.

 

 

Speaking to TNM, Kavitha stated that despite Bengaluru facing a massive dust problem, these mechanical sweepers are not being used. 

“Bengaluru, especially the area in and around the Silk Board, continues to have dust problems, and nothing is being done about it. People have asthma and allergies due to excessive dust in the city. If you visit Hyderabad, you’ll see that the machines are actually being used because there is no dust on the roads,” she said.

“If the BBMP doesn’t want to use the machines, why did they buy the machines by wasting people’s money? What is the use of spending crores of money if they don’t use it?” she asked.

Earlier in February, around 15 new mechanical sweepers were inaugurated by the BBMP amid much fanfare, taking the total fleet size of the machines to 25. The BBMP had stated that the machines will sweep the Outer Ring Road, High-density Corridors and roads in the Central Business District more frequently at nights.

TNM spoke to a senior official in the BBMP, who said that the machines are being used, but at night and not during the day. 

“We recently got permission for more vehicles, which will get cleared soon. These machines are used only in the night time in heavy traffic areas and not during the day. That’s why the public doesn’t see them being used. There is no place to park them, and that’s why they are being kept in HSR Layout. We will move them soon,” the official told TNM.

However, Kavitha Reddy has dismissed this official's statement. 

“That’s a most ridiculous claim. If you see the speed at which the machines move, you would laugh! They move at a very slow speed and it is impossible to do the work and then bring them back to the service road in time if they are indeed being used. If it is true, let them show the deployment chart. Who has the contract to operate them? What is the route map? The fact is, they don’t exist, as it is expensive, and the BBMP should not buy these machines if they are not being used,” Kavitha told TNM.

The Commissioner, however, says that all work is being done as normal. “Work is taking place at night. There are a total of 25 mechanical sweepers. The Zonal Chief Engineers are supposed to ensure that every day 40 kms are done by each sweeper, and each kilometre is done four times. Both sides of the road: on either side of the median and the footpaths are done by the footpath.”

 

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