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Killer potholes of Bengaluru, tragic deaths & apathy of the government

Bengaluru has hundreds of big and small potholes which cause traffic jam to death.


Updated:September 21, 2015, 1:39 PM IST
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Killer potholes of Bengaluru, tragic deaths & apathy of the government
Bengaluru has hundreds of big and small potholes which cause traffic jam to death.

Bengaluru: It can happen only in India. We blindly follow the rules or laws without applying logic and reasoning. Bengaluru’s notorious potholes have claimed one more life. It is the third death in just one month. On Thursday night, 25-year-old Stuti Pandey was returning home with her husband after attending a Ganesh Pooja at a friend’s house. According to media reports, when Om Prakash swerved to the right to avoid a pothole on the flyover at Devarabeesanahalli, Stuti lost her balance and fell on to the road and died.

The Bengaluru traffic police filed a case of causing death by negligence against her husband. The police claim that they are just following the rules and the law has to be respected. According to local police inspector, the pothole was too small to cause an accident. He claims that the death could have been avoided if her husband was not over speeding.

According to a report in ‘The New Indian Express’, the police seem to be unclear on whether to proceed with the charge against Om Prakash. MA Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), told Express that though they had registered a case of accident, they were yet to ascertain the reason for the mishap — negligent driving or bad condition of the road or a technical problem with the vehicle.

“We will take action against the people concerned once the investigation is completed. We have not come to any conclusion about the reason for the accident as the investigation is under process,” he said.

A case has been booked under Sections 304A and 279 of IPC. Section 304A says that whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. As per Section 279, whoever drives any vehicle, or rides, on any public way in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or with both.

Senior Advocate MT Nanaiah told ‘The New Indian Express’ that the traffic police action was nonsense. “The traffic police should have filed a complaint against the BBMP authorities under Section 304 of IPC for having left the road in a bad condition and causing death. But they did not do so because BBMP is another government body. The victim’s husband should file a complaint against the BBMP for causing death of his wife and also claim compensation. He should also file a petition seeking to quash the complaint registered by the traffic police in the appropriate court.”

Ravi B Naik, senior counsel, said the husband cannot be exempted for causing death by negligence. Ultimately, case cannot sustain because witnesses will turn hostile and nobody supports the case. Finally, case will be closed, he said.

Bengaluru roads are infamous for potholes and the freak accidents they cause. The city still has hundreds of big and small potholes which cause traffic jam to death. The city corporation of BBMP has filled up hundreds of these potholes after public protest.

A brilliant artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy hit national headlines after he planted a life-sized crocodile in the middle of a road after BBMP failed to repair a pothole. His efforts paid off and the city corporation filled up the pothole in just a day after the pictures went viral. A few weeks later Badal Nanjundaswamy drew a butterfly net around a pothole to wake up authorities! Again the red faced civic authorities immediately swung into action and filled up the potholes.

The location of Bengaluru is also partially responsible for the bad condition of roads. It is located 3000 feet above sea level and receives a lot rain. Since the rain leads to water logging, asphalted roads crack, creating potholes. However, the bad quality of work is the main reason for the ever increasing number of potholes across the city.

According to an estimate, there are 2,631 potholes in the city. It states that 910 potholes had come up on roads that are still under the defect liability period. Sources said that if there is any defect/pothole on the road when it is under the defect liability period, the contractor is liable to repair the same at his/her cost.

According to ‘The Hindu’ the report also states that there are 1,721 potholes on other roads, mainly arterial and sub-arterial ones. Sources said that a tender to fill the potholes on these roads would be called soon. The BBMP had earlier stated that a fine of Rs. 2,000 would be levied on contractors for each pothole.

In the last five years the BBMP has spent over Rs 100 crore to repair potholes across the city. However the potholes refuse to vanish. It clearly shows that the major portion of the spent has been siphoned off by the concerned people. Currently the BBMP is bankrupt, unless the Congress state government in Karnataka which snatched BBMP from the BJP releases generous funds for the road work, potholes continue to exist. Making Bengaluru is potholes free city should be the top priority of the BBMP and state government. Apathy kills.

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