The irony of being a Bangalorean - when this year’s summer scorched us with its heat, we wished for rains, now that it’s raining, some of us can’t help but beg for some respite. It’s not the chilly winds that are inviting the complaints, it’s the potholes. These seem to have literally taken over most roads in the city making for bumpy rides and causing traffic snarls and accidents. This pitiful state of our roads even before monsoon strikes in full, makes many tax-payers wonder why authorities are not better prepared.
Monsoon has already hit costal and south Karnataka on June 1, indicating that in the coming weeks Bangalore will witness more showers. Speaking to City Express, director of Meteorological Department, Bangalore, B Puttanna says, “Conditions are favourable for further light to moderate rains. Until there is a depression in Bay of Bengal, Bangalore will not witness heavy rains.”
So, the rains will continue, but will the condition of slow-moving traffic remain so?
M A Saleem, additional commissioner of Bangalore Traffic Police, says, “As soon as it starts raining, people take shelter in underpasses. This, coupled with waterlogging, results is slow-moving traffic. We have been trying to clear waterlogged areas with our ‘Garuda Vahana.’ However, even the traffic department is at the mercy of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which has to seriously take up repair works of potholes and clearing of drains.”
On this matter, Saleem adds, “Recently, we wrote a letter to the BBMP identifying a few areas where even light showers result in traffic jams. Since, the head of BBMP has changed, we have to resend the letter. Most importantly, it’s drains that need to be cleared. Water flowing out of them creates huge traffic snarls.”
Representatives of BBMP say authorities suffer the same as other commuters.
Says A M Purushotham, chairperson of Town Planning Standing Committee, BBMP, “We are also citizens of the same city and we also travel on the same roads like others do. I do understand the concerns of the people.
"Potholes can be repaired only when the rain stops. We can’t fill potholes with tar when it is wet because it is sure to come undone in a day. We are on the job and the concerned BBMP authorities have given instructions to all the engineers to identify the areas ridden by potholes to start repair as soon as the rain stops."
I work in Shivajinagar and am a resident of Arekere, Bannerghatta Road. I have to commute over three hours a day just to get to work, and back home. I travel by BMTC buses, and I don’t usually ever have an issue being on time as I’ve gotten used to my schedule, despite the heavy morning and evening rush. But the monsoon wreaks havoc on everyone’s schedule including that of the BMTC buses. In fact, just last Friday there were no buses post 7:30 pm because of the rains. In the Bilehkalli and IIMB areas, there was a veritable lake in place of the roads. And once I reached my stop, I had to wade through knee-deep water, and if I hadn’t been warned by other pedestrians standing under the shelters, I might have walked into the sewers or manholes that were overflowing and were indistinguishable from the roads that were covered with just as much water.
I now spend at least two hours more than usual in just commuting to-and-fro. I don’t have time to cook, or finish my daily chores. Monsoon is the most troublesome season.
KR Sivakami, 48 years, lab technician
A small stretch of 200 metres from Sai Garden towards the Sai Baba Ashram continues to be a perennial problem for residents of Belthur, Segehalli and Kannamangala. Rains further aggravate the problem by washing the road away entirely. Sewage overflows onto pathways. It’s very unhygienic. I have been observing this since the past five years. It is high time that the BBMP do something substantial about this.
Janardhana Rao 48, technical consultant
I’m new to Bangalore, so the condition of roads here, during the monsoon, came as a surprise. I was always told how Bangalore is a metropolitan city, with international-level infrastructure. But I see chaos everywhere. I stay in Yeshwanthpura, and travel to M G Road and Brigade Road often. The traffic is maddening here with no semblance of order, or anyone to direct the traffic. Whole sections of the road are unusable off due to waterlogging, and the puddles too make traffic hell. .
Aditya Chaganti, 20, student
Many roads in Bangalore are poorly constructed and maintained. The monsoon season magnifies the inconvenience. It is very difficult and unsafe, in particular, for two- wheelers. One of my friends met with an accident, last week, on account of a pothole in Malleswaram. This is a serious problem which requires immediate action.
Abhishek Srivastava, 21, student,