Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A nightmare potholed by sheer neglect

A nightmare potholed by sheer neglect

The 1.2 km-long Vittal Mallya Road is a commuter's nightmare. The two-way narrow and uneven road is bedevilled by potholes. The stretch connecting St Mark's Road and Siddhalinga Circle is a prime junction and sees a passenger car per unit (PCU) of over 5.000 during peak hours.It is also turning into one of the prime commercial and tourist destination with the presence of UB City. But one downpour is enough to reveal the true picture of the road. Potholes get filled with water and uprooted trees block traffic. For most of the stretch, footpaths have been encroached by commercial outlets. During school hours, in the absence of space on footpaths, students are forced to walk on the road. Leaky manholes, dug up drains, garbage heaps with street dogs feeding on it and overflowing sewage expose the dark side of this road. Residents and commercial establishments fear to use water for drinking as it is likely to be contaminated. The health of children is at risk.A large number of offices are located on either side of the road, but without parking space. Vehicles are parked on roadsides at any given point of time and due to footpath encroachment, pedestrians are seen walking on the road.
Traffic Travails
Vittal Mallya Road connects Lavelle Road and St Mark's Road but gets choked with traffic. Its width is only 8.2 metres. With vehicles parked on the road, the two-way traffic is obstructed leading to accidents and traffic congestion. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, however, say the road repair works in the city are going on smoothly. But regarding Vittal Mallya Road, they absolve themselves of any responsibility, saying that it belongs to the Mallyas and they should maintain it.
BBMP Chief Engineer (major roads) Chikkarayappa said: "Vittal Mallya Road was earlier called Grant Road and when Vittal Mallya wanted to change it to Vittal Mallya Road, they had signed a contract with us that they will maintain the stretch. Thus, the BBMP has not been involved in it. The name of the road was changed in 1971."On questioning why the BBMP has not yet found out whether the maintenance work is carried out on the road, the official said the matter was in court and also under the investigation of the Lokayaukta. So, the agency could not do anything about the matter.
A spokesperson for The UB Group said "Vittal Mallya road, in front of UB CITY, was beautified by The UB Group 20 years ago and The UB Group has maintained it, at its cost, ever since. We have only recently received approval from BBMP for rebuilding the road, at our cost, and we have immediately commissioned our architect and a traffic consultant to design the road. We are awaiting the completion of major civil works in the neighbouring JW Marriott hotel before rebuilding the road. If Vittal Mallya road is commissioned before the JW Marriott hotel is completed, it can lead to damages to the road. Vittal Mallya road belongs to the BBMP and the citizens of Bengaluru."


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