Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Palike takes a dig at BWSSB for pothole menace

Palike takes a dig at BWSSB for pothole menace
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, May 18, DHNS:

Enraged at the sight of yet another newly asphalted road being dug up? Clueless about the potholes surfacing after every downpour? Don’t blame us, says the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which on April 30 had even levied a penalty of over Rs 7 crore on the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for ''unauthorised'' road-cutting.

But why crucify the Water Board for the pothole menace?

It is now learnt that the BWSSB had issued an internal circular directing its engineers to ensure that the dug-up mud is not used to fill the roads. This circular, issued as far back as November 2005, was apparently never taken seriously.

Issued after a meeting with the then Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP), under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary of Urban Development Department, the circular was clear: The BWSSB had to follow certain rules “meticulously and under no circumstances deviate from them”.

Following the circular, the BWSSB had issued directions to its officials to provide “soil compacting layers of sand and quarry dust and bring it up to the original level of the road surface.”

This had to be ensured when the estimates are prepared for road-cutting works.
Sources cited this glaring lapse as the prime reason for the gaping potholes, which tax the hapless motorists on most arterial roads, including the high-profile Raj Bhavan Road.
The BWSSB is still using the old technique of filling up the trenches with the dug-up mud before asphalting.

“Because of the old mud that is dug up in most parts of the City, where the BWSSB had taken up sanitary and water pipeline projects, the roads have sunk creating potholes,” informed a top Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) official.

It is learnt that most projects of relaying new water pipes and sanitary lines by the BWSSB are unauthorised and taken up unilaterally without the requisite permission from the BBMP.

This once again violates the circular rules, which had stated that the jurisdictional BBMP engineer concerned must be informed in writing before the start of any work. Incidentally, the BWSSB is yet to respond to the penalty notice issued by the BBMP (South) for the unauthorised road-cutting. Not a single rupee has been paid to the Palike, sources said.

Palike officials maintained that none of the other civic agencies were as careless with regard to the road-cutting and most had taken adequate precautions. “Most others, including KPTCL, BESCOM and other agencies, have even paid us the money to repair these roads where they were working. But not BWSSB,” informed the official.

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