Bengaluru: A bad stretch of road in Whitefield — over which residents had protested for more than three years — was finally asphalted six months ago only to be dug up to lay optical fibre cables. Residents and motorists had heaved a sigh of relief when ECC Road was asphalted only to wake up one morning this week to find the road in shambles.
This is in violation of a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) rule that states that road cutting will not be allowed for a year after a road is asphalted.
When Whitefield Rising held a protest in November 2015, one of their major demands included remaking of ECC Road.
“We have struggled hard to get the road done and now in a matter of six months, everything has gone down the drain, leaving us frustrated,” Gautham Mishra, a member of Whitefield Rising and a resident of ECC Road, said.
The road has been dug up by a new telecom service provider, which has taken permission to lay an 800-km- long OFC network in the city, sources said.
BBMP has given the company permission to use horizontal directional drilling technology, where cables can be installed with minimal impact on the surrounding area. This does not take away from the fact that permission to dig up ECC Road is in stark violation of the civic body’s rule of one year ban on digging, residents said. BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that he would examine the case, and if any violation was found, would recall the permission as well as impose a fine on the service provider. The cutting of ECC Road is not the first time that Whitefield residents have faced such problems. In March 2016, Alpine Eco Road — another major arterial road in the area — was dug up to lay OFC cables less than 24 hours after it was laid.
What frustrated residents was that they had anticipated the breaking of ECC Road, and tried to prevent it.
“When ECC Road was being laid mid-last year, residents, as a delegation, met multiple telecom service providers requesting them to lay service ducts so that there need not be future digging. But none were ready to come together and invest in the duct. Now, we have the road dug up already,” lamented Utkarsh Singh, another resident of ECC Road.
Empanelled agencies for road cutting tenders soon
The civic body is all set to float tenders for road cutting across the city in the coming week. This is to create an empanelled set of contractors who will carry out the cutting work across the city and also take on restoration, irrespective of the agency that wants to undertake the road work. “Permission for road cutting has been centralised and made online. Each permission request will be communicated to these empanelled set of contractors, who will carry out the work on ground and report back to BBMP. This will stop road cutting work by private firms, BWSSB or Bescom, which will streamline the process,” said BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad.