After three pothole-related deaths in less than a week, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has finally woken up. He has started a pothole challenge. An angry Lokayukta too has joined in.
Siddaramaiah instructed Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials to fix around 16,000 potholes in the city, within 10 days.
The Lokayukta has filed a suo motu case against BBMP Commissioner and has asked the BBMP to fill potholes in 14 days.
On Monday, Siddaramaiah visited the spot where 47-year-old Radha Ajanappa died on the pothole-riddled Mysuru Road near Nayandahalli.
“I have instructed the commissioner of BBMP to fill up the potholes in 10 days. All the potholes should be filled up or else we will investigate and take action against the people responsible,” Siddaramaiah said.
The two ultimatums may make the BBMP expedite work, but how will the government ensure that the BBMP will do a quality job? Bengaluru residents are used to potholes getting filled on one day, and cracks appearing the second day.
Pothole deaths in Bengaluru
Siddaramaiah’s announcement comes after a third victim, Radha Ajanappa, was killed on Sunday morning.
Radha was riding pillion on a scooter with her nephew Ravi Kumar when the accident occurred near the Nayandahalli Junction on Mysuru Road.
Ravi Kumar applied brakes to avoid a pothole, when a truck rammed his scooter. 47-year-old Radha fell down and the truck ran over her neck killing her instantly. Ravi Kumar, however, sustained minor injuries in the accident.
Radha’s family has accused the government and BBMP of negligence.
“Why did they not fix the potholes? Besides, why were no diversions put in place? This is negligence,” said Devaraj, Ravi Kumar’s brother.
In another pothole-related death, a couple was killed in a road accident last week. They were also trying to avoid a pothole when they were hit by a Tamil Nadu road transport bus.
“It is difficult to fix potholes if the roads are wet. In areas where there is rain, cold mix will be used to cover up the potholes. If it does not rain, hot mix will be used. This repair may last for a couple of months. Once the rain stops we will go ahead with white topping,” Manjunath Prasad said.
The Karnataka government on Friday, proposed four major changes to the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill that is pending before a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.
The state government’s recommendations include making the road construction authority criminally liable for accidents due potholes and unscientific humps.