Friday, May 29, 2009

Bannerghatta Road- The Road to Hell

Bannerghatta Road- The Road to Hell
Guest post by Parag Patankar

“Roads, Potable Water and Electricity” - These are the promises a politician typically makes to win votes in rural areas. Ironically, in IT capital Bangalore, 2 of the three (water and road) have been taken away by powers that be—all in the name of “improvement work” on the Billekahalli canal (the third was solved long ago by citizens installing captive generator sets).

The BBMP began work on the Billkeahalli canal on Wednesday morning, with no traffic planning visible, resulting in total chaos on the Bannerghatta Road. The Chaos was reported in the papers, but no one has paid any attention to a possible disaster waiting to happen on the diversion. The “diversion” is a illegally covered part of the drain—done by a real estate developer. Nobody knows if it has the load strength to bear the heavy traffic pounding it, including BMTC buses and heavy dumpers –it may just collapse. Luckily no heavy rain has happened in last two days, else that diversion will become an impassable muddy field, making things worse for commuters.

On Thursdy May 28 , BBMP “discovered” that there is a water pipe below, with no idea on how to proceed. Work came to a grinding halt at the site and the BWSSB engineer promised resumption of water within 1 hour. This ws repeated ad nauseum every hour –maybe the engineer is a fan of Joseph Goebbels who famously said “ If you need to lie, make it big, and repeat it till people believe it”.

Consequence- No water to Billekahalli area, residents are being forced to order water tankers, which supply water of questionable quality, and posing a health hazard.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 24 hours of “water supply will be restored in an hour” have passed— there is no sign of any progress on that front. Obviously no progress on the road work either, and the 15 day estimate could stretch to months or even years the way most civic projects are handled in Bangalore.

What needs to be done urgently:

Specifically- Repair the water pipe, get water flowing, and check if the diversion is roadworthy, or some alternate route needs to me made before disaster strikes.

In General - More planning, and prompt action from the concerned authorities. The same politicians who were at our doorsteps a few months ago with folded hands should at least respond to our pleas for assistance in ensuring basic quality of life.

Here's what some of effected people have to say:
" We have the entire Bannerghatta road traffic running in our front yard, no water and no idea on how long this is going to take. " - Priya Patankar (Resident)
" The entire manner in which this is being done shows the apathy of the authorities. Why could they not involve people like us - the affected parties in finalizing things before they dug the road?" - Ritu Shah (Resident)
"One fine day they got a bulldozer and dug the main road. Then they broke the water pipes and yanked out the Broadband cables. Now I think once it rains they will leave the road as it is and disappear for the next few months. We need a citizen movement to stop this mindless nonsense. Shashi (Resident)


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