Bengaluru: The BBMP outdid itself before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, working through the night to fix potholes and clear garbage on one of the shoddiest, most critical roads in the city - Old Airport Road. Over 10,000 vehicles use this stretch everyday, but it had remained in shambles for close to two years.
Around 366 complaints about the HAL-Marathahalli stretch, including Wind Tunnel Road and Suranjan Das Road, have been recorded since 2012 by Janagraha’s online complaint forum - IChangeMyCity.org. Needless to say, they all fell on deaf ears until the Prime Minister’s visit was scheduled.
“Old Airport Road is an arterial road that connects peripheral areas with the city centre and there has been a lot of talk about issues along the stretch,” said Sunil Nair, Outreach Manager, Jana-Online. “Last Thursday, we saw that road was being done up, but only on one side. About 48 hours before Modi’s arrival, there was a lot of work taking place - dividers and footpaths were being fixed, the road was tarred too.”
This unusual show of promptness, far from receiving the appreciation of the people, has only irritated them further. Social networking sites saw an outcry as people demanded to know why their requests had fallen on deaf ears and why only a VVIP visit could spur the Palike into action. Residents and regular commuters along the stretch remain sceptical, for they spot fixes and temporary knee jerk reactions are a common experience now.
Arshad Kunju, who works with an IT company and lives in the area and has been complaining about the Marathahalli stretch for the last year, said while the BBMP does respond to their complaints, the most they do is dump some mud in the potholes. “The problem is that water seeps into the road, destroying it, so that is what the BBMP needs to resolve. Throwing mud in the problem areas is not an answer, especially when public money is being wasted on spot fixes.”
Software professional Anish Pandari uses the Domlur-HAL stretch to travel between Indiranagar and Sarjapur everyday. He said, “The road has been in bad shape for a very long time. It is significant because of the shortcuts it provides from Sarjapur to HAL.”
When he lodged a complaint, he received a response from the Commissioner saying an officer had been allotted. “I took the official to the spot, but he said it wasn’t his jurisdiction and asked me to get in touch with someone else. That was the last I heard from the BBMP,” he said. “There is no sincerity behind what the Palike has done now and honestly, I don't know how long these roads can hold out.”...