The court passed an order requesting the chief engineer of NHAI to personally conduct the verification or depute a senior officer/engineer to inspect the work undertaken by BBMP by awarding contracts to private contractors as well as the work allotted to M/s American Technology Solutions Limited. The company had undertaken pothole-filling work through python equipment.
The HC asked NHAI to submit a report in four weeks, indicating whether the repair/resurfacing is being done as per work orders and if it is satisfactory or not. In addition, the chief engineer of NHAI or his nominee can give suggestions and point out the dereliction on the part of contractors or BBMP officers, as the case may be.
‘Court directions on paper’
In its detailed order, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale pointed out that in spite of various orders of the court and pendency of the petition for more than 6-7 years, there is no positive outcome.
“Observations of this court in earlier orders and directions have remained only on paper. The road conditions in Bengaluru even after a span of six years have not positively changed and the unfortunate sufferers are citizens. This court had observed in various orders that road conditions, particularly potholes, led to unfortunate loss of precious human lives.
The report submitted before the court shows a majority of repair work has been awarded to private contractors. It has been found satisfactory only in the certification of BBMP officers. Thus, there is no independent third-party assessment of the work undertaken by private contractors,” the bench noted.
It directed BBMP to hand over copies of all reports/affidavits submitted to the court to the office of NHAI chief engineer within a week. “We make it clear that the order passed on Wednesday should not translate into stoppage of ongoing work undertaken by BBMP. Such work shall proceed till further orders,” the bench added, while posting the PIL to December 7.
In the PIL filed in 2015, Vijayan Menon and other petitioners sought for a series of directions, including one to the Palike for submitting an action-taken report on repair of killer potholes and also for providing a mechanism to enable citizens to file complaints about poor road conditions.