You may feel a sense of pride as the air-conditioned coaches of Namma Metro pulls into Ulsoor Metro station, but the road below jars you to the reality. The pathetic condition of roads under the Ulsoor Metro station drew the ire of Bangalore District in-charge minister, Ramalinga Reddy, who warned BBMP officials of stern action on Friday.
Residents in the area blame BMRCL, BBMP and BWSSB for the condition of the roads. “Every day, I see motorists struggling as they try to avoid potholes that have been filled with construction debris. It is uneven and, when it rains, it is a nightmare,” said Ali Jan Bakshulla Khah, who runs a tyre puncture repair shop a few metres from the Metro station.
The problem, he believes, is two-fold. “People attempt to fill potholes with construction debris. So, there are bricks and concrete dumped into it, which makes the road uneven. Secondly, even when attempts are made to repair the road, manholes are always overflowing and I think this too erodes the road,” he said.
Despite Ramalinga Reddy’s visit, those living in the area or commuting regularly do not think that anything will change. “For years now, this road has been in this condition. No amount of complaining has yielded any result, why should it change now?,” asked S Vishwanath, a newspaper agent in the area.
“The problem could have been solved ages ago if they wanted to,” believes Santhosh, another shopkeeper, who has been in the area for at least 40 years. “Drainage pipes get clogged every few days and sewage overflows from the manholes on to the road. Another problem is the water leaking from the Metro piers. If they ensure proper drainage, the roads will last longer,” he said.
Ramalinga Reddy has asked BBMP to ensure that the roads are repaired within a week. He also inspected Old Madras Road, Swami Vivekananda Junction, Adarsha Theatre Junction, Richmond Road and Ulsoor Road. Lambasting the engineers, he said several warnings had not yielded any result and the only alternative was to initiate action against them.
Interestingly, he defended BBMP later, saying that the Palike wanted to carry out asphalting work but due to rains, the proposal was stalled. “Once the rain stops, we will start works from November,” said Reddy.
He acknowledged the lack of coordination between BBMP and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB). “The BWSSB causes maximum damage to roads by digging them up stealthily for laying pipelines,” said Reddy. He added that roads damaged because of the Metro construction will also be repaired shortly.