It was a shocker right in the middle of Sultanpayla main road here: a crocodile. Motorists and pedestrians were out of their wits as the menacing crocodile stared at them from a pothole on the busy road.
Thankfully, the crocodile was not really a threat: it was a lifesized model of the animal which has been installed by artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy to highlight the real menace of 2,631 potholes that are spread all across the city.
For the last one month, unseasonal rains have battered the city so badly that a record number of 2,631 potholes have been formed on key and arterial roads of Bengaluru, thereby reducing the speed of vehicular movement.
But the Karnataka government has remained indifferent to the plight of the motorists.
As a reply to that indifference, and also to draw the attention of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to the hardship faced by the motorists, Nanjundaswamy decided to install the model of the crocodile. The model crocodile is conveniently resting in a crater filled with rain water. According to Nanjundaswamy, it was an effort to draw the attention of the authorities concerned after frequent appeals from the local residents to the BBMP to repair the road fell on deaf ears.
The artist spent Rs 6,000 from his pocket to create the model crocodile, which stunned the motorists and the civic authorities. Because of the art installation the BBMP went into a damage control mode.
But it chose to blame the Bengaluru Water Supply & Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for not repairing a broken underground pipeline, which led to the formation of the crater where the model croc rested on the road.
The BBMP does not have an elected council, as the Karnataka government intends to trifurcate administration of the city. Currently it is headed by an administrator and a commissioner. The new administrator of the BBMP, TM Vijay Bhaskar, said the civic agency had identified 2,631 potholes and they will be repaired on a priority basis even as monsoon has set in Bengaluru. However, there has not been any visible action so far.
A majority of the potholes are located on roads in the IT clusters of the city.
The BBMP, under the elected representatives, has been in the news for corruption related to road asphalting. On several occasions, BBMP officials have been found to have passed bills running into crores of rupees for road repair works that never took place. The government tried very hard to break the official-contractor nexus, but was not successful.