In 2015, Vijayan Menon and others filed a PIL in the High Court of Karnataka demanding accountability from BBMP. The PIL pointed out that BBMP is the “owner and custodian” of all roads in Bengaluru as per Article 12 of the Constitution.
The BBMP’s duty includes providing and maintaining roads, ensuring good condition of roads for easy movement of vehicles, and ensuring the safety of citizens who use these vehicles and roads, said the PIL. It also highlighted several instances of citizens dying in accidents caused by poor road quality.
Interim order in July
In July, the court issued an interim order in the PIL, directing BBMP to define the process of compensating victims of such accidents. The order did not mention decent roads as a fundamental right of citizens, but held ward committees responsible for supervision of roads in their respective wards. The committees are to submit reports on roads to the High Court, via the BBMP Commissioner.
The court order further directed BBMP to take immediate action based on these reports, to set up a grievance redressal mechanism for the public to complain on damaged roads etc.
Around the July hearing, BBMP had submitted in court that the total length of 470 major roads within its jurisdiction is 1344.8 kms. And that, 108 of these roads – having total length of around 401 km – were affected by potholes. Besides, in 119 roads of around 106 km length, entities like BWSSB, KPTCL, BESCOM, GAIL etc had been permitted to cut/dig up the roads for laying cables, pipelines etc. BBMP had claimed that 362 of the roads (measuring about 943 km) were pothole-free.
Reacting to the court case as well as citizens’ ire, BBMP set itself a goal of filling potholes by November 10th. In its survey from October 1st to 10th, the Palike identified 10,656 potholes across all eight zones in the city.
A glimpse of BBMP working day & night to meet its Nov 10 pothole filling deadline.
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) November 3, 2019
However, by its November 10th deadline, BBMP declared that it had filled 9914 potholes, and would soon fill the remaining 742. But citizens have questioned these numbers.
Seriously? Who gave this numbers? Don't you consider #GearSchoolRoad as one of the roads? Kindly see the craters and potholes, those are life threatening
Thousands of commuters are using that road daily.
— Doddakannelli Rising (@Dkhallirising) November 11, 2019
Now, a month past its own deadline, BBMP has not made any official announcement on the status of pothole-fixing. But data from BBMP website as of November 27th showed that 327 potholes still remained to be fixed. Meanwhile pothole accidents recur in the city.
BBMP yet to frame guidelines for compensating victims
BBMP had remained mum on the HC order to give compensation to pothole accident victims. But, in a hearing on November 12th, court threatened to hold the BBMP in contempt for not setting up a compensation mechanism.
Eventually, on November 27th, BBMP placed an advertisement in newspapers announcing that compensation would be given to victims on a case-by-case basis. But there are no guidelines currently on compensation – on the application process, point of contact or the criteria for deciding compensation amount. BBMP says it’s working on these.
But BBMP has also challenged the High Court’s interim order in the Supreme Court. Compensation process would be subject to the final orders of the Supreme Court, BBMP had said in its newspaper ad.
Share your pothole woes to support the PIL
Meanwhile, High Court is yet to give its final judgement on the PIL filed by Menon. Presenting the ground reality of Bengaluru roads and potholes in court would help the PIL proceedings.
Hence we are collating data on the condition of roads across the city. If there are roads in your ward that need to be fixed, or if you have been in a pothole accident, share the details with us:
- Take a picture of the road/pothole
- Share the location (Latitude, Longitude)
- If you have already raised a complaint through the BBMP Sahaya App, share the complaint number
- Use the #BengaluruPothole hashtag while sharing the details in your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram post, so that we can collate the posts
You can also share information in our ‘Comments’ section below.