Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heritage City tag brings no relief to city's roads

In the West they say water on the roads disappears within a few minutes after a heavy downpour, whereas here in India the road itself disappears and Mysore of course is no exception. Whenever heavy rains lash the city it turns several roads into small rivulets with the road disappearing underneath and people have to wade their way through murky waters with caution, fearing they may step into a pothole or even a open manhole.

With roads inundated under water, the potholes that are very often, patched up using tar and jelly stones give way in several places turning them into small puddles and become invisible with water flowing above. It becomes nightmarish, especially for riders of two-wheelers, whose vehicles often get stuck in these pot holes.

Many a times the water flowing on the road is at such a high level that it even enters the the silencer pipe of the two wheelers, blocking the engine. Added to all this is another misery, the overflowing water from open drainage pipes and sewers. The Under Ground Drainage (UGD) network in several areas is so badly maintained that it is always clogged causing water to overflow whenever there is a heavy downpour with even small children getting washed away as happened a couple of times in the recent past.

While the Corporators are very enthusiastic to make Mysore a role model for other States, they have failed to realize that without proper drainage and better roads, it would just remain dream on paper. The Corporators should become proactive and put a check on the sub-standard quality of road repair works and make sure that the sanctioned grants are properly utilized.

The City Corporation seems to be more concerned to please the tourists on a short visit to the city constructing Raja Margas, rather than should take up road repair works on a warfooting to help the permanent dwellers of the city.

The Corporation seems to think that merely filling the potholes fixes the road and it becomes motorable again. As a result such shoddy patch works can be seen on almost all the city roads without having a need for any separate speed breakers. Sometimes these patch works protrude so much on the road that one has to drive with his leg always on the brake so as not to be thrown off the vehicle.

While the Corporation has already received a grant of Rs 100 crore exclusively for road repairs and also when works under JNNURM like road widening and laying water pipeline connections are going on at a brisk pace, what is preventing the Corporation to relay all the roads in the city properly and provide a permanent solution. Even in the past the Corporation had availed loans from the Asian Development Bank to lay roads and had even repaid the money. But the situation has not improved.

It is a pathetic sight near Gandhi Square, where the proposed heritage road is coming up, and at KR Circle, the heart of the city, where the rain water always flows knee high, long after the rain had stopped. Localities like Yadavagiri, Kuvempunagar, Saraswathipuram, Vidyaranyapuram, Ramunaja Road, are always water logged and areas lying in shallow places like Agrahara, Vani Vilas Market, the road in front of the Fire Brigade and several slums located in low lying areas are the worst affected.

Speaking to Express Vinod a resident of Agrahar said that `the officials have failed to use the grants properly. Instead of providing good roads and proper UGD system the authorities are behind to get prizes and to obtain heritage tag. All public spirited organizations should join together and hold protests urging officials to provide commuter-friendly road.'

`Good roads are the basic component of a good governance. But here the authorities concerned have failed to provide adequate basic amenities to the citizens. The authorities who are involved in road construction and maintenance should work seriously and make city roads pothole-free,' says Mamatha, a resident of Yadavagiri.

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