Sunday, August 31, 2008

Price of uncoordinated work: bad roads

Price of uncoordinated work: bad roads

Bangalore: While the official blame game on the pathetic roads in the city continues, there is still no concerted effort to check the problem that stems largely from lack of coordination among civic agencies. The BBMP has, time and again, pointed out that there isn’t much it can do when roads are dug up by other civic agencies for their own projects.
The city has had enough examples to show that works taken
up by other agencies only compound the bottlenecks faced by the BBMP. The absence of an overseeing body that coordinates work of various agencies and departments without allowing one to affect another is clearly the missing link, as urban planners maintain.
According to Shubhendu Ghosh, principal general manager, BSNL, Bangalore telecom district, the agency cannot even dig a trench without the BBMP’s permission. “Only after sending the proposal and documents do we get the demand note. Then, we pay the charges and carry out digging work after erecting barricades and signboards till completion of the work,’’ he said.
Ghosh explains that there are two kinds of work: developmental work, like providing new connections, and maintenance work, like restoring lines. “It is not possible in a city like Bangalore to carry out work without getting necessary permission and, in some cases like restoration of hospital lines, we need to work swiftly. Only after getting permission do we go ahead with work,’’ he said.
Ghosh acknowledges the need to develop a portal wherein all telecom industry players, including BSNL, can submit a proposal and share the costs of a trench. This would substantially reduce time and money spent on work.
BWSSB chief engineer C Venkataraju said works are initiated only when complaints regarding leakages are received. “In some areas, we are restructuring and replacing old water pipes with non-corrosive pipes. As a precautionary measure, on broad roads we lay drinking water and sewage lines on either side of the stretch to avoid contamination,’’ he said.


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