Residents frustrated with BBMP repeatedly saying pipeline work to be over ‘next week’.
The schoolchildren, shopkeepers and residents of Gear School Road, eastern Bengaluru, have a common piece of attire: Face masks.
Dust clouds caused by dug-up roads have forced the residents of Kadubeesanhalli-Doddakanelli road stretch to cover their faces. Two-wheeler riders contend with another problem on the road: Several protruding storm water drainlids.
Amit Sharma, whose hardware shop is located on the road, informed The Observer: “My shop has been here for the past three years, but the problem started 6-8 months ago. To lay pipelines for a Cauvery water project and underground drainage, they dug up the roads and haven’t fixed them. They have fixed the road from AET Junction, but not this stretch.”
The road leading to Doddakannelli looks neatly laid out from AET Junction. But most of the stretch towards Kadubeesanhalli is dug up and badly damaged.
“During monsoon, the bad condition of the roads causes people on two-wheelers to skid and fall. There were many such incidents last year. And now it is the dust. We have to continuously clean the shop entrance and keep the doors closed. The deadline to fix the road was December 15, which has obviously been missed.”
Rajesh, who owns a ceramics and hardware store, said: “If you ask anyone on this road for a problem, they will name ten. Such is the condition of this road, which has been dug up for gas line, water line, etc.”
The Observer found that the road offers a bumpy ride to vehicles. There is no footpath. Only half of the available lane is usable. The edges of the road are dug up, forcing vehicles from both sides to inch through the middle of the road. The middle of the road has potholes and protruding lids.
Mariam John, whose house is adjacent to the road, said: “We have lived in this area for 15 years. The dust is so bad that I have developed chronic cough despite keeping windows and doors locked. We are tired of complaining. Mostly workers come at midnight when we can’t even object.”
The road outside Mariam’s home lies dug up.
In response to the citizen complaints, the BBMP executive engineer of the area who didn’t want to be named told The Observer: “We are fixing the problem. Work will be completed within one week. Because of road cutting by BWSSB for a long time, roads were dug up and not restored to a usable condition. But we are doing it properly now.”
Citizens have tweeted consistently about their hardship. The citizens’ groups Doddakannelli Rising and Save Bellandur have tagged the BBMP commissioner and the local MLA in their tweets to highlight their concerns.
Dr Ramesh V, professor and head of the mechanical engineering department, Rajarajeshwari College of Engineering, explained: “There are various technicalities according to which the earth has to settle down after being dug for pipelines, and left for one season. The officials say the work would be completed in one week instead of explaining the procedures to the public and journalists. Procedural delays and a fund crunch might also be reasons for non-completion of the work.”
On July 18, 2019, The Times of India reported that local MLA Aravind Limbavali’s claims about good condition of roads was countered by citizens who had tweeted that the minister should see the road for himself.
On January 9, 2020, the Bangalore Mirror reported that Gear School Road, which is a part of Kadubeesanhalli-Doddakanelli Road, would be fixed in 15 days. It also reported on January 27 that 48,000 litres of water was sprinkled on the road every day to reduce dust pollution. Both the reports quoted BBMP officials as saying that the work would be completed in the following week.