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Bangalore potholes: the arrogance and lack of empathy of Siddaramaiah Government

There is this popular saying that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”. Nothing better than this describes the callous attitude of Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party towards Bengaluru and its citizens, which is suffering due to utter failure of urban governance. The citizens today are facing several problems – potholed roads, overflowing sewers, long traffic jams, disappearing lakes, inadequate infrastructure and so on. His party’s government has brought back the famed “city of thousand lakes” Bengaluru albeit with thousands of potholes filled with storm water.

Rahul Gandhi recently made a statement that he needs just six months to solve the problem of unemployment in India. It is interesting that he dares to claim such big things even while his party’s government fails to fix the problem of potholed roads in Bengaluru. Recent rains in Bengaluru have inundated several low-lying areas. There are crater-sized potholes everywhere. In the last 10 days, at least four people have lost their lives in road accidents caused due to potholes.

In the year 2015-16 Karnataka state budget Rs. 5000 crore was promised for Bengaluru’s development under Chief Minister’s “Nagarotthana” special package. Big announcements such as Rs.800 crore for construction of Storm water drain were made to grab the headlines. But people re wondering where did all the money go?

Atleast twice in the past two months, BBMP had promised to fill up holes in 15 days. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also promised to make Bengaluru roads pothole free in 15 days. The citizens took to twitter to express their disbelief as one of the tweets said, “Bangalore people, remember the date 25 October 2017.” The BBMP has admitted that there are around 16,000 potholes in the city. But experts claim that there are definitely more than 16000, around 33000 in total, as they are only counting the cater-sized ones. BBMP claims to have issued contracts to fill potholes on 3081.49 KM of road and 2374.79 km of road is pothole free, out of total 13,474.94 km. But Bengalureans are taking these promises with a pinch of salt.

 

The perpetual tourist Rahul Gandhi should visit Bengaluru to look at the shortcomings of his government rather than speaking about women in shorts. Different agencies splurge over Rs 2,500 crore on Bengaluru roads even while honest tax payers take a bumpy ride on potholed roads. While the civic agency claims to have taken up road works worth Rs. 1,045 crore under the Nagarothana scheme, the PWD says it too has spent Rs. 249 crore on roads in the city. In 2015, the BBMP claims to have spent Rs. 417 crore on road works and the year before that in 2014, Rs. 566 crore.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has spent over Rs 2,000 crore on works related to Strom Water Drainage in the last one decade. But where has all the money spent on remodeling of drains gone? In BBMP limits, there are 633 Strom Water Drainage of 842 km, including primary and secondary drains. According to the data given by BBMP 2,207.33 crore has been released to BBMP under various grants like JnNurm, 14th Finance Commission, Nagarottana and BBMP’s grants between 2006-07 and 2017-18. Of this amount, the Siddaramiah government sanctioned around Rs 1,543 crore. This also includes CM’s Nagarottana special grants in the years 2016-17 and 2017-18. Despite spending crores, there are thousands of vulnerable locations in and around storm water drains because of unscientific works by contractors and engineers.

The Bengaluru Development Minister’s recent statement that Bengaluru is better equipped than New Yok City to handle rains has been a mockery of the city. Mr. KJ George might have misread this incident when the US consulate had to come forward to rescue a citizen. While Bengaluru has been blessed with abundant rainfall this year, residents of the city are overwrought with fear each time the sky turns cloudy. One of the citizen’s house was flooded with water and with no one else to turn the woman made a panic call to the US Consulate at around 8am. They took down her details and numbers of the local officers. The call to the Consulate worked. Within two hours, NDRF and fire department personnel were at her house. Not just one or two, 10-15 men arrived in boats to rescue them. The minister continued his mockery of Bengaluru by claiming that the deaths are not due to potholes and he can’t hold an umbrella over the sky so the rain won’t pour. CM Siddaramaiah however turns a blind eye to these civic issues and continues to protect his money bag steelflyover minister.

Congress has ruled Karnataka for more than 55 years since independence. People of Karnataka have given opportunity to 15 Chief Ministers from Congress party out of total 22 Chief ministers the state had till now. Congress party’s leadership must ensure that their government in the state works towards fulfilling its duties rather than touring Gujarat and attending book release functions. Congress party’s social media in charge Ramya alias Divya Spanda had in her tweets in 2012 claimed that citizens should reclaim their tax money f the government fails to provide good roads. The actor turned politician who has an opinion on every other issue is completely silent about the potholed roads, even though it continues to claim lives of innocent citizens.

Even as I write this article the citizens of Bengaluru have gathered at the freedom park to celebrate their victory against the arrogant Siddaramaiah government to stop the steel flyover project exactly a year ago, which would have otherwise resulted in cutting of 800 trees in addition to the loot of public money. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, representing Karnataka has even invited Rahul Gandhi to visit Bengauru to witness the anger of the people.

Rahul Gandhi and his party will soon realize that the citizens are coming together yet again in 2018 to reclaim Bengaluru from vested interests and unholy nexus of builders, politicians and bureaucrats.

References:
http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2017/aug/24/bengaluru-floods-over-rs-2000-crore-goes-down-the-storm-water-drains-in-10-years-1647555.html
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/karnataka-plans-rs-7300-crore-infra-spend-for-bengaluru-city/article9524983.ece
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/632738/rs-1367-crore-spent-swds.html
https://www.oneindia.com/india/floods-bengaluru-better-than-new-york-says-minister-george-citizens-see-red-2525168.html
http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/couldnt-depend-bbmp-bengaluru-woman-gets-help-us-consulate-flooded-home-69333
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/BBMP-to-spend-Rs700-cr-for-garbage-collection/articleshow/48115934.cms
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chief_Ministers_of_Karnataka

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Dr. Bharat K
PHD in Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Start-ups, Governance and Environment. India and Hinduism.

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