Pothole woes: High courts pull up Mumbai, Bengaluru civic bodies for negligence
Amid road safety debates, the high court in separate states have started to pull up respective civic bodies for negligence or lack of initiative to address the issue. Recently, the Bombay High Court and Karnataka High Court questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the road conditions in Mumbai and Bengaluru. According to official data, more than 5,000 people have lost their lives due to accidents caused by potholes in India.
BMC have been asked by the Bombay HC to prepare a roadmap to repair 20 worst pothole-ridden roads in Mumbai by next week. The court came down heavily on BMC with its observation ‘BMC is a cash-rich municipality and it should spend its money for the public good and do something about potholes on Mumbai roads’.
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Potholes have become such a menace that even Mumbai's traffic police have joined the fight to rid the city roads of them. It has initiated efforts to fill the craters to prevent accidents. Potholes are also one of the key poll planks ahead of the civic elections in the city. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the CAG will conduct a special audit into the BMC's functioning, including the quality of roads. He said, "We will focus on upgrading the road quality in Mumbai. In three years, we aim to have pothole-free roads. All concrete roads in the city will have a duct facility."
Meanwhile, Bengaluru's civic body also received a rap in the knuckles from the Bengaluru High Court. The state's top court has put an ultimatum to the BBMP, saying, "You should be able to tell tentatively by when you can fill it up. You are giving 221 as the number. We ask you to be honest. How many potholes?" The court said the number of potholes shared by the civic body are only on key roads. The figure finally came to around 2,5000 after much prompting and asking.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) shared a report recently which says that road accidents caused by potholes led to death of 5,626 people between 2018 and 2020.