The Karnataka High Court, headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, once again reprimanded Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the prevailing issue of potholes. The HC on Tuesday resumed hearing the public interest litigation filed by Vijayan Menon of the Citizens Action Forum, which has sought the court’s direction in formulating an action plan to fix the city’s pothole problem and also to put in place a mechanism to award compensation to victims of pothole-related road accidents.
In the last hearing on October 5, the petitioner’s counsel had submitted photographs of 43 potholes. Out of this, BBMP has filled 16 potholes, while BWSSB is carrying out road digging work on 24 potholes.
Irate with the BBMP’s inactions, the court asked if Bengaluru can ever become a zero pothole city and asked the civic body’s counsel if there is a single ward in the city that is pothole-free. In its affidavit, the civic body claimed that the city has only 628 potholes currently.
“If the BBMP can't do it, we will have to ask other competent authority. But, this would mean that BBMP has failed,” the court observed.
The HC also said that BBMP’s mismanagement of potholes is wasting the valuable time of the court and that it will hear all cases on this matter only on Saturdays with the BBMP bearing the allowance for the court officers.
Senior counsel Aditya Sondhi, who was appointed by the court for overseeing meetings between the different civic bodies in the city, headed by Chief Secretary, said an action report will be submitted at 4.30 pm. The case has been adjourned till October 25.
Previously, the court had 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 issue after the petitioner’s counsel disagreed with the BBMP’s version.