When he fell into the kaluve, the iron rods protruding from the pavement pierced through Mavir’s leg.

Pavement or death trap Bengaluru man grievously injured due to broken footpath
news News Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 08:55

Pothole-riddled roads are not the only death-traps in Bengaluru. The pavements in the city are broken and extremely dangerous for pedestrians.

On the night of October 30, Mavir Poonacha, a 24-year-old employee of Greenpeace, had set out from his friend’s residence on Kensington Road in Halasuru to run a few errands. “I was at my friend’s house on Kensington Road. I was there to sit the cats and I went out for a bit. I usually cycle everywhere in the city but that day I decided to walk. Just 100 metres away from Kensington Residency, the footpath was broken. I did not notice it as there were no streetlights. I don’t know how it happened. One second I was walking and the next I know, I’m 6-8 ft under,” Mavir recounts.

He then realised that he had left his phone in the apartment. Mavir managed to get himself out of the pit. It was then that he realised that the house keys were still inside.

“I had to go back in there, look for my keys and climb outside. It was then that I noticed blood gushing out of my leg. I somehow made it to my friend’s apartment and gave another friend a call. By then, I was bleeding very quickly as there was a deep cut in my leg,” Mavir adds.

When he fell into the kaluve, the iron rods protruding from the pavement pierced through Mavir’s leg.

“My friend took me to Lakeside Hospital. They said they couldn’t do much so I went to Santosh Diagnostic Centre for an x-ray. There I found out that the bone in my leg was broken in two. I later was shifted to Baptist Hospital. Initially, when I managed to get back up, the pain had not yet registered but I felt some kind of discomfort. It hit me only when I saw the blood. I had to undergo a surgery and I was in the hospital for a week. I am young and I survived but what if it was an old person?” Mavir questioned.

Kensington Road belongs to ward number 90. The local Corporator, Mamatha Saravana, was dismissive about the condition of the pavements.

When TNM contacted Corporator Mamatha, she in fact denied that the stretch belonged to her ward.

“It doesn’t fall under Halasuru ward. It belongs to Cox Town. Go ask BBMP they will tell you,” she said.

After checking with BBMP, it was revealed that Kensington Road belongs to Mamatha’s ward.

“I am telling you the road does not come under my ward. It belongs to CV Raman Nagar. Go and ask the BBMP to do something about it. Don’t bother me,” she added.

Although the local Corporator was dismissive, Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj said that the pavement would be fixed by Wednesday.

“The local Corporator should not have dismissed the issue. I will talk to her and find out what is going on. I will ensure that the footpath is fixed tomorrow (Wednesday) itself. Corporators must pay heed to the complaints of residents in their ward. It was wrong of her not to address such a serious grievance,” Mayor Sampath Raj told TNM.

What can Mavir do?

In this case, can city corporation be held liable in any way? 

“There can be a tort liability. If a person can prove that she/he fell down due to the corporation’s negligence, they can file a case in a civil court. The onus to prove that is on the complainant” Jayna Kothari, Advocate, Karnataka High Court had earlier told TNM.

Section 266 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act states that the corporation has to maintain and repair public streets “which are necessary or expedient for the public safety or convenience.

Kothari explains that though such provisions have been mentioned in corporation by-laws, like in Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act or the BWSSB Act, they do not provide for any liability on the public bodies if they do not carry out their duties. 

“The tort law in India falls under the common law, which means that though it is enforceable there is no legislation or statute governing it,” she says.

Poor infrastructure

Earlier in October, a 42-year-old priest, Vasudeva Bhat, got washed away into a storm water drain (SWD) in Basaveshwara Nagar because of a broken pavement. The concrete slabs which cover the SWD were broken. Vasudev had fallen into the SWD during the rain and his body was recovered a day later.

Speaking to TNM, a senior BBMP official said that maintenance would only temporarily solve the problem of crumbling infrastructure.

“The real problem here is the lack of proper planning. Poor infrastructure and weak governance are reasons for the condition of the infrastructure but the basic problem is that there is no separate organisation for planning most things in the city. What needs to be rectified is also the construction and maintenance contracts set up for roads and pavements. The cement blocks are laid in the most unscientific manner in most areas. They are not sturdy enough. In addition, the ward-level engineers don’t conduct regular inspections and the maintenance work gets done very slowly,” the official added.

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