BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday lambasted Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike after it could not say that the city is free from potholes even after the time of more than a month given to the agency to fix the issue has passed.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice S G Pandit said the city would have been pothole-free by now as BBMP was given the time of one month and four days.
The BBMP could have filled potholes as there was less traffic during the Dasara holidays, it said.
Even otherwise, traffic would have been diverted for work if the agency had approached the city police. But it was not done, the court said.
“If BBMP can’t work, Bengaluru can’t be closed. Instead, BBMP should be closed. This matter (potholes) itself has become potholes for this court. If BBMP can’t work, it has proved its incompetence. Bengaluru should have zero potholes. If you don’t, a responsible agency will do the work and you have to pay a heavy price then. Somehow the BBMP officials are assuming that they can go on fooling this court and we are not going to audit the work done by them. It is their misconception,” the court observed.
The court made this verbal observation after the BBMP failed to convince it while explaining the present status of work undertaken to fill the potholes. The agency itself was not sure about where the work is going on now. Earlier, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that no work was done in the past 15 days and that potholes were still posing a menace on major roads like Palace Road, Cubbon Road and Infantry Road. The way the potholes are filled is totally unscientific, the counsel submitted.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Vijayan Menon and others, seeking directions to the BBMP to fill potholes in the city.
HEARING ON SATURDAYS
Referring to the one month and four days (from September 19 to October 23, 2018) given to BBMP to complete the task of filling potholes, the court said it was taking a toll on other matters. Calling it a criminal waste of time, the court said it will henceforth take up this matter every Saturday.
‘SUBMIT REPORT BY THURSDAY’
The court asked the Court Commissioners comprising Army and judicial officers to visit the places where potholes are being filled up. They were asked to submit the report on Thursday, the next date of hearing, and also asked to give suggestions, if any, to be placed before the panel headed by the Chief Secretary. This was after the BBMP counsel submitted that work was being carried out at night and that except a few potholes, the others pointed out by the petitioner have been filled up.
HC ASKS GOVT TO GIVE PRIORITY TO POTHOLES
The court asked senior advocate Aditya Sondhi, who was inducted as an independent member in the Coordination panel, to take stock of the situation and find a solution, to tell the Committee to take up the issue on priority and plug the loopholes in the work of filling potholes. “This is too haphazard and there is no mechanism. We will not let it go like this. Work has to be done seriously and Bengaluru has to come back on track,” the court said. Sondhi earlier informed the court that the issue was discussed in the recently-held coordination committee meeting.