A key 1.14-km long road that links west Bengaluru to south Bengaluru is in a shambles. Dug-up roads that are poorly cordoned off, potholes filled with rainwater and a constant presence of heavy construction vehicles has made the commute on Cottonpet main road unbearable.
The main road is being reconstructed, the underground utilities are being replaced and the white-topping of the road is scheduled to be carried out. The development of the main road, which connects the GoodShed area junction to Mysuru road, was undertaken by the BBMP as part of the TenderSure project.
The project, which started around February earlier this year, was slated to be completed by September but is progressing at a snail’s pace. According to BBMP’s Chief Engineer KT Nagaraja, it may take up to six more months before it can be completed.
The pre-monsoon showers have worsened the situation as multiple potholes are now filled with muddy water, making it difficult for people to walk on this road. With the monsoon just days away, the road may get become dangerous to travel.
According to KT Nagaraja, the road’s development is part of a package that includes 6 main roads and 11 crossroads, and the agencies are tackling all the roads simultaneously.
On Cottonpet road, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is currently laying the underground drainage (UGD) line. They have assured that the work will be completed within one month. Meanwhile, the SWD (Storm Water Drain) department of the BBMP has given an assurance to complete their work within one to one-and-a-half months. After this, the work by TenderSure will start.
Why the slow progress?
Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun recently inspected the site and said that there was a delay in the work, as it depends on when the BWSSB will complete laying pipes. Stormwater drains are also simultaneously being laid by the BBMP. According to the mayor, out of 300 mt stormwater drains, 138 mt has been completed and the remaining 162 needs to be done.
The Mayor agreed that there was poor coordination between BWSSB and BBMP, but BBMP’s Chief Engineer KT Nagaraja stated that conditions of the site are also a contributing factor to the slow progress. According to the Mayor, the BWSSB will complete their work soon.
“The agencies concerned have assured completion of the pending works at the earliest. I have already given instructions to the concerned agencies to start the TenderSure works in the areas where work on the water and sewage lines has been done. They will probably start this work from Monday,” the Mayor said.
‘Construction affecting our businesses’
A project intended to improve the condition of the residents of the Cottenpet area has instead left them in distress. The revenues of many running businesses on the main road have been hit.
“Due to the project work my business has taken losses of close to 75%,” Nikhil Ramavath, the owner of a store located on the road, told TNM. Other stores have reported close to little business or no business at all.
“There have been no customers in 6 months,” said Rakesh Sancheti, the owner of Bhawani Tea Co. When asked about the progress of the project, he said, “Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I don’t understand what they are doing.”
Confusion regarding the progress of the project prevails among the store owners. Palani R, the owner of Maruti Fragrance, said, “Whom do we talk to? We are scared to ask questions.”
The TenderSure project, which involves laying of pipes for sewage, water and power, has also disrupted the supply of water to these stores, making some of them dependent on borewell water.
A worker at Brahmin’s Bakery and Sweets, an eatery on the Cottonpet main road said, “The Cauvery water connection is cut. When we tell them they don’t do anything about it.” Hotels and lodges on the same road are facing a similar problem.
Inconvenience to school children
The construction work has reduced the road to a narrow, congested and dangerous path for schoolchildren. Students studying at two local schools, St. Catherine’s High School and Isaac Newton English School, have to use alternative routes like the side roads to reach the school.
According to the Secretary of Isaac Newton English School, the parents find it inconvenient to use such roads to drop off their kids.
“We are not fighting them (authorities), we are requesting them for the safety of children. Please do this as soon as possible,” he said.
The BWSSB’s Executive Engineer of Waste Water Management (WMM) Department told TNM that they will be completing the work in the coming 10 days. “The main scope of our work is done. The only work we have left is to link the pipes in the side roads,” he said.