Monday, March 26, 2007

City pavements: Here today, gone tomorrow!

City pavements: Here today, gone tomorrow!
Deccan Herald

Just two years back, the then Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had laid 45 km of pavement, using cobble stones at a cost of Rs 20 crore. But today the ‘pavements’ are a string of rubble heap all along the ‘cobbled’ stretches.

Concrete and cobble stones have been smashed into powder on many roads, while on others the pavements have just caved in, unable to stand the load of pedestrian movement in the City.

Result: Pedestrians are back on main roads, jostling with motorists for space.

This has not only hampered the movement of vehicle traffic, but increased the chances of pedestrians meeting with accidents.

The then Bangalore Mahanagara Palike in 2004 had entrusted the implementation of the pavement project to Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC).

Though the work eventually was found to be sub-standard, no action was taken. In fact, the local body meekly cleared KRSCL’s Rs 20-crore bills towards the project. Every sq mt of cobblestone pavement costs over Rs 600 and every cobble stone costs Rs 5.

Tattered pavements

Two years down the line, the City is again facing the problem of tattered pavements. A random check of the condition of pavements in the city by Deccan Herald revealed that the Palike, in effect, has damaged its own property (pavements) on many roads.

Take Gandhi Bazaar main road, for instance. Here, while implementing the work to widen the road and desilt the shoulder drains, BMP officials have smashed all the cobble stones that made up the pavements.

Alternative uses

Many roadside petty shop owners are now using these broken stones as ‘steps’. Now, the Palike is planning to lay pavement all over again using tiles.

As the pavement literally doesn’t exist, pedestrians walk on this busy road. Passing through this market place on weekends or on the eve of festivals, is a nightmarish experience.

Pedestrians are at a greater risk in the evenings when power supply to street lights in busy shopping areas is disrupted.

Residential areas too

This is the situation in many residential areas, too, with the government liberally permitting malls and shops to come up all around.

Thus, examples of the Palike undoing its own work can be seen in many areas, including Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, Vijayanagar, Sanjaynagar, RT Nagar, Jayamahal, Hebbal, Indiranagar, JB Nagar, Koramangala, JP Nagar, Jayanagar and V V Puram also.

Digging again

In another instance on Lalbagh Road, the Palike is laying concrete slabs as pavement, discarding the existing cobble stones, while an o Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) company on Kalingarao Road has dug up the entire stretch of pavement.

Though Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has introduced a road restoration protocol, which requires individuals or private companies to restore roads/pavements they dig up, the rule simply doesn’t seem to apply to OFC companies in the City.

The Palike is taking the citizens for a ride. It is tax-payers’ money that they are squandering. The Lokayukta should intervene and punish the erring officials.


resident, Vittal Mallya Road

Laying pavement is big business for officials and contractors. The Palike is removing the cobblestones and laying slabs. There was no need for it. Who asked them to lay the slabs?”


tailor, Sampangiramnagar

People walk on the road everywhere in the absence of decent pavements. Concrete stones laid some time ago have been damaged. We knew very well that these stones wouldn’t last long. It was foolishness on the Palike’s part to replace stone slabs with concrete stones.


footware shop owner, V V Puram

It’s been over a week now the pavement has been dug up on Basavanagudi Road. But nobody is bothered to restore it. Roadside vegetable vendors are badly affected. Moreover, a pavement in good condition has been damaged. It is a waste of tax-payers’ money.


shop owner, Gandhi Bazaar


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