The Karnataka High Court on Friday granted the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) time till Dasara to fix all pothole-related issues in the city. The Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari-led bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and the matter will be heard again on October 23.
The HC also directed the BBMP to have a dedicated system for citizens to highlight matters with regard to road maintenance and make sure that the complaints are attended within a set timeframe.
The BBMP has been facing the heat from the High Court since September 20 when it was asked to fill up all potholes within one day. Subsequently, unhappy with the BBMP’s action, the HC formed a two-member commission comprising Dinesh Agarwal, Commander Works Engineering of the Military Engineering Services (MES) and Uma MG, Member Secretary of the Karnataka Legal Services Authority, to independently probe the matter.
On Friday, the commission submitted a report from their visit to Mahalakshmi Layout and Malleshwaram. According to the Chief Justice, the committee was unimpressed by what they saw in these two wards. These are two wards the BBMP claimed was pothole-free.
Anuradha SR, the advocate representing the petitioner, told TNM, “We from our side have collected details about the road/ pothole condition from 23 Resident Welfare Associations in the past two days and have submitted that to the court. We have also said that we are not happy with the work that is happening.”
“They had asked for three days, but now it has been three weeks. We want to highlight that BBMP does not have a set formula on how to deal with the potholes,” she added.
Earlier, the commission had told the court that BBMP underplayed the number of potholes by 20-25% in its report to the court. Other irregularities such as not recording details regarding repair material used by BBMP engineers, were also pointed out.
On September 25, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) was also impleaded in the case after the committee told the court that a higher number of potholes were found from areas where the BWSSB had dug pipelines.
Both the BBMP and BWSSB also filed separate submissions on the matter.
The PIL was filed by Vijayan Menon of the Citizens Action Forum and three others, seeking the High Court’s intervention in formulating an action plan to fix the city’s pothole problem, among other issues. These other issues include a demand for a mechanism to award compensation to victims of pothole-related road accidents.