A road that was asphalted ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June 20 visit to Bengaluru has caved in, leading to embarrassment for the state's BJP government and a response from Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, besides attracting attention of the Karnataka High Court.
The city's civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP, had spent Rs 23 crore on roads ahead of PM Modi's June 20 visit. As part of this, Rs 6.5 crore were spent to re-lay a road that passes through the Bangalore University campus, two days before the visit. This road was used by PM Modi to travel to Dr BR Ambedkar School of Economics (BASE) University on Monday.
In less than 24 hours after PM Modi left for Delhi, the road cracked and caved in following a spell of rain. The road is being redone, but the civic body is not having to pay as the contractor has to redo it under liability insurance, it is learnt.
As the chief minister on Thursday instructed the BBMP commissioner to take action, the civic body issued a show-cause notice to three engineers. But the commissioner, Tushar Girinath, refused to respond to questions about accountability for public money.
"This is a case of corruption and lopsided priorities," said Rajkumar Dugar, an activist, adding, "The last-minute tarring is only a facade; it costs a lot of money but the work is very poor."
Vinod Jacob from the civil society group Namma Bengaluru Foundation said, "There's a common notion amongst the citizens that the civic body and the water and sewerage body fail to coordinate. Citizens bear the brunt of it."
Meanwhile, hearing an unrelated petition by some residents about civic work, the High Court wondered whether the President and Prime Minister should often visit the city and travel on different roads for civic agencies to do their job. It was a reference to reports about the money spent on roads ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit.