BENGALURU: The condition of footpaths in the city will be improved by the end of July before the onset of monsoon, said BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana on Tuesday. An exclusive web page where the public can lodge their grievances, besides a toll-free number for registering complaints will also be set up within a week, he added.
He made this submission before the High Court which had asked him to respond to a PIL filed by Jennifer Pinto on the condition of footpaths in the city. The PIL was filed after a person was electrocuted on Church Street after he accidentally touched the fence of a transformer on a footpath.
Power utility Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (BESCOM) faced the wrath of the HC division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri, over shifting transformers from footpaths.
The bench pulled up the counsel representing BESCOM and even refused to accept his statement that the transformers cannot be shifted from the footpath as they were erected for distribution of power.
The bench said that BESCOM’s approach was not correct and it should not play with the lives of people. “We can give you time to remove such transformers,” the bench said.
Later, Lakshminarayana explained the various measures taken by BBMP to improve footpaths, but expressed inability in mobilising funds for the same. “We have to take up the work under the Chief Minister’s Nagarothana scheme as all the tax that we collect is used to pay salaries and managing solid waste,” he said, while presenting photographs of some of the repaired footpaths.
He also stated that select arterial, sub-arterial and other roads are proposed for comprehensive development in 2014-15 under the Nagarothana Scheme. “`40 crore is earmarked for footpath development. Tenders will be floated in this regard and work will be carried out on war-footing,” he said.
The maintenance of footpaths, repairs and upgradation are being carried out, he added. Measures have also been taken to clear encroachments, he added.
The Chief Engineer of respective zones are made responsible to carry out periodic drives to ensure maintenance of footpaths, smooth pedestrian movement and also prevent encroachments. Assistant engineers and assistant executive engineers will have the responsibility at the ward level.
Four Signal-free Corridors:
In the affidavit filed before the court, Lakshminarayana explained BBMP’s various projects including four major corridors that have been planned to be developed as signal-free corridors. While two of the projects have been approved by the state government and work has already begun, BBMP has sought government approval to call for tenders for the other two.
The project includes comprehensive development of roads, footpaths and construction of grade separators at crucial junctions. Work is in progress on Old Airport Road, from ASC Centre to Hope Farm via Domlur, Marathahalli, Kundalahalli and Varthur and on Dr Rajkumar Road, from Rajajinagar entrance to Mysore Soap Factory junction, he said.
The bench then asked the Commissioner to file an affidavit on the progress of works and adjourned the matter to March 2.