The concept of the 'pothole pooja' programme is to ‘pray’ to the potholes not to harm anyone as a last straw, as the government has failed to repair the roads.

Protesters performing pooja to a pothole in BengaluruFile photo | Twitter
news Protest Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 10:37

Fed up with the inaction on the part of the civic body to fix the perennially bad roads in Bengaluru, citizen activists have declared that they will be holding a 'pothole pooja', and ‘ask’ the potholes not to harm anyone. The activists also lashed out at the Karnataka government, accusing it of ignoring the plight of vehicle riders. B Clip Alumni Association and Karnataka State Motorists Association have given a deadline of October 30 for the ruling BJP government to get rid of potholes in the capital city.

"If the administration does not respond, 'pothole pooja' programme will be taken up all across the city in every ward with an intention to embarrass authorities and get them working," explained Kavita Reddy, the Vice President of B Clip Alumni Association. Both organisations held one such programme near Chalukya Circle on October 14 on the occasion of Dasara festival. They gathered near the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on a stretch where Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta travel almost every day.

The members gathered around a 3x3 pothole, spread vermillion, embellished it with flowers, performed an aarti, broke a pumpkin and prayed to the pothole ‘not to harm anyone’ as the government is doing nothing about it.

Vehicle riders gave a thumbs-up and said a big yes to the protest. Some of them even joined the unique protest. Government and police officers who passed by pretended that they did not see the function which was intended to mock them.

Anand Begur, President of B Clip Alumni Association, told IANS that it is a satirical attempt to get the problem of potholes in the city fixed. "We are planning to conduct a survey of potholes and will stage this unique protest all over," he said.

Raghavendra, President of the Karnataka State Motorists Association, explained to IANS that the government has submitted false statistics to the High Court regarding potholes. Though the High Court has given a deadline twice, the potholes have not been fixed. He further said that there are 13,847 km of arterial and sub-arterial roads in the BBMP limits. The government has stated that only 246 km of roads are pothole-ridden, which is incorrect. There is no respect from the government towards the High Court directions, Raghavendra said.

Kavitha Reddy, who is also a lake activist, explained that since there is no council, it has become very difficult to deal with the administration. "If the government fails to fill all portholes before October 30, we will get the survey conducted as we did in 2016 and organise such protests to humiliate the government.”

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