Saturday, May 15, 2010

Palike, police at crossroads

Palike, police at crossroads
Jagadish Angadi, Bangalore, May 14, DH News Service :

The City’s numerous unauthorised speed- breakers have split the authorities with the BBMP pooh-poohing the police’s concern that the road humps are not just unnecessary irritants but also cause fatal accidents.

Regardless of the police’s word of caution on the killer road humps, the BBMP insists it is helpless in removing them. “The Palike will remove unscientific humps only if people submit a list of unauthorised speed breakers,” BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena told Deccan Herald.

Meena, of course, is not aware that last year Lokayukta Santosh Hegde prepared a report on the unusually large number of illegally constructed speed-breakers that had become a bane for motorists.

In his report, which was also submitted to the State government and the City police in July last year, Hegde had recommended removal of more than a hundred road humps that had proved fatal for drivers.

The BBMP Commissioner brushed aside allegations of improper inspection before road humps are constructed, saying: “They (the allegations) are false as there was proper inspection”.

Responsibility

A fuming Hegde would have none of that. “Don’t they have a responsibility? You cannot pass the buck and say you will take action only if people approach them. What are engineers and road engineers for? It is their duty to identify illegal humps and remove them. Will they keep quiet if someone constructs a house on a service road and then say we will take action if there is any complaint?” the Lokayukta asked.

‘Unholy nexus’

Hegde is also not satisfied with the police’s response to his report. “I had clearly mentioned in my report that all humps, even those on minor roads, should be removed. I had said there are over 1,000 speed- breakers on main roads and not 400 as claimed by the police,” he said, indicating that “an unholy nexus” encouraged the construction of these humps.

Meena retorted, saying that the humps were not unauthorised since “people want them in front of their homes and stores and so contractors build them”.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, however, disagreed with the police’s contention that unauthorised road humps cause accidents, which in his view result from over-speeding by motorists.

Although the Commissioner said the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike would “look into the matter”, the police stick to their stand, insisting that the Palike must act and take action against those who constructed the speed breakers. Police sources said the traffic division reserved the right to identify road stretches where humps are needed.

But these speed breakers, the sources made it clear, would have to follow appropriate design and standard. “Complaints on unauthorised humps will be continued to be forwarded to the proper agency for further action,” an officer said, indicating that it is the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s duty to get rid of unwanted and dangerous speed breakers. However, it is interesting to note that, the traffic police department receives scores of applications requesting construction of speed breakers on service roads.

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