Potholes, floods, waste: No respite for citizens in Bengaluru

Though these issues sound and look simple, ensuring the city is well maintained seems to be a herculean task for the state government.

Published: 31st December 2022 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2022 06:44 AM   |  A+A-


Potholes on road in Bengaluru

Express News Service

Bengaluru, the country’s IT capital, the city which generates the largest amount of revenue for the state government and contributes the lion’s share to the national economy, continues to face problems with basic facilities -- good roads, clean water bodies, well-protected lung spaces and clean air.

Though these issues sound and look simple, ensuring the city is well maintained seems to be a herculean task for the state government. Experts point out that the pandemic and lockdown period was not utilised to address these issues. Government officials often use high vehicular population and unprecedented rain as excuses for potholed roads. Despite the presence of hot and cold mix plants, and a team of engineers from various agencies, including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Development Authority, and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited, little has been done to address the issue.

Roads which were well tarred ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the Global Investors’ Meet, Bengaluru Tech Summit and G-20 meetings, opened up soon after the delegates left, exposing the corruption and lack of interest among contractors to ensure good roads.

PM Modi visited the city twice -- to lay the foundation stone and inaugurate multiple projects, including Vande Bharat Express, Terminal-2 at Kempegowda International Airport, the 108-ft tall statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, Metro projects at Kommaghatta and Suburban Rail.

Bengaluru also made headlines for flooding. While techies took to social media to express their anguish, the government blamed unplanned development and encroachment, more so in the tech corridor of the city, which houses prime institutions. Experts and planners, however, pointed out that both are to blame. The government tried to set things right and restarted its encroachment clearance drive, which came to a halt because of a lack of surveys and maps. Residents and builders of gated communities and apartment complexes knocked on the doors of courts and Lokayukta to get stay orders.

Experts and citizen activists on multiple platforms blamed the government for not holding municipal elections. A few urban planners opined that had there been ward corporators, the issues of bad roads, flooding and garbage menace could have been handled faster. These issues are currently being handled by MLAs, MPs and the chief minister, who also holds the Bengaluru development portfolio. The exercise of ward delimitation is not yet complete, despite intervention by courts and the Election Commission, and little is being done as the city is expanding swiftly.

The city’s unplanned growth is visible in the newly added 110 villages, where basic infrastructure like roads, drains and drinking water connections are yet to be provided. These areas are crucial for the city’s growth as they house tech corridors, apartment complexes and a floating population. However, experts clearly state that the government’s focus is still on CBD areas. 

The idea of five satellite townships remains on the drawing board, due to which the long-pending demand for restricting vehicles in CBD areas has not been addressed either. Another reason is the government is still unable to start the Suburban Rail project, and dialogues with the railway ministry have not shown the required results.

Experts from various government agencies are also unable to ensure last-mile unhindered connectivity because of a lack of coordination to ensure a smooth transport system. Urban planners and the migrant population term Bengaluru the costliest city when it comes to transportation. Officials also admit that though elections are fast approaching, no major announcements or projects have been kickstarted to give the tech city a facelift. They admit that the prime reason is the lack of a single agency to take responsibility and execute work. Though Bengaluru has its own act -- BBMP Act 2020, separate from the KMC Act -- even two years down the line, Bengaluru is what it was before the pandemic.

India Matters


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