Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bumpy ride continues for Bangaloreans

Bumpy ride continues for Bangaloreans
The BMP will outsource maintenance of roads in the city and has finalised tenders to privatise maintenance of nearly 2,000 kms at a cost of Rs 14 crore.

Even as motorists continue to take bumpy rides on the City roads ridden with potholes, Mayor P R Ramesh on Tuesday claimed that over 80 per cent of the roads in the City are free from potholes. Almost all roads, including some major roads in the central business area have potholes due to heavy rains in the past few months and also due to poor or no maintenance. Such is the gravity of the situation that residents in some areas have resorted to filling up these craters with cobble stones laid on the footpath.

BMP had turned a blind eye all these months and woke up only when the Chief Minister N Dharam Singh cracked the whip recently. And now BMP claims that it has ‘accomplished’ its task as directed by the CM. “We have kept up our promise made to the CM by restoring roads,” Mr Ramesh declared at a media briefing.

As per the BMP statistics, there are 15,441 potholes across the city and nearly 12,714 of them were already filled up. BMP will fill up all remaining potholes in a week’s time, he assured. Interestingly, the statistics regarding potholes given by the Mayor and BMP officials are contradictory. According to the former, the city has over 15,000 potholes while the latter said there are over 19,000.

It may be recalled that BMP Chief Engineer Rame Gowda after holding a review meeting with the city MLAs recently, had said that over 19,000 potholes have been identified in the city. The BMP has plans of outsourcing maintenance of roads in the city. Of 4,000 kms of roads, BMP has finalised tenders to privatise maintenance of nearly 2,000 kms at the cost of Rs 14 crore.

Among the works that will outsourced are filling up of potholes, restoration of dug up roads, levelling uneven footpath, desilting shoulder drains, removal of debris and painting of sign boards.

The BMP was forced to involve private sector for road maintenance due to the lack of required personnel to carry out the work on its own due to which it came under severe criticism from all quarters, sources added. “We are short of staff to maintain roads. The Government has also imposed a ban on new recruitment, so we decided to outsource this work,” the Mayor said.

As per the outsourcing plans, which will be placed before the Council for its approval, the private contractors will have to maintain roads for the period of three years from the date of contract. BMP has decided not to give road cutting permission to either the Government or the private agencies, the Mayor said adding, “Roads will not be dug till the end of the monsoon.”


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