Mangaluru: MCC Crew Not ‘Smart’ for ‘Smart City’-Fix Bad Roads First,Then Concretize other Roads!

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Mangaluru: Every month or so we see huge hoardings with images of local leaders announcing the construction of new concrete road in that area- I have no problem with that. But what about the existing dilapidated and potholed roads that are a big nuisance, hazardous and cause lots of inconveniences to motorists and pedestrians. Just look at the road stretch near Jimmy’s Super Market-Kadri all the way to Nanthur; also look at the pathetic condition of road stretch near Chitra Talkies-Alake Road- and there are many such dilapidated roads with potholes all over the city. Few days ago to satisfy and please the motorists and citizens some patch work was done by the MCC, and already the tar has worn out, and jelly stones have loosened and scattered all over. Seems like this City with smart people is ruined by dumb systems/plans of misaligned power and responsibility.

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It happens again and again and again. Heavy rains and heavy traffic have scarred local streets and the potholes pop up — and this has formed a worse-case scenario for repair crews who are struggling to find and fix all the emerging potholes. But are they doing the job right. I don’t think so. Throwing some loose stuff in a hole and just hoping the traffic driving over it will fix it, will not serve the purpose. The evidence now says otherwise. I think the only way to solve the current pothole mess is to lay a two-layered concrete road with a seal coat but the problem is, our authorities I bet are busy playing blame games.

Driving on Mangaluru streets, and for that matter, even on outskirts of the City, is like an obstacle course. Drivers keep swerving and maneuvering to make sure they miss every pothole. These potholes have also worsened the chronic traffic jams which Mangaloreans face everyday, apart from driving through Alake Road, other potholed surfaces are some streets in Bunder area, Bibi Alabi Rd, Nanthoor junction Rd etc etc. Anyone who has had the misfortune of commuting on these streets will testify what a great pain the ride is – literally – owing to the numerous potholes that punctuate the road. I bet a ride on this stretch is akin to a ride on a ‘ camel’s ‘ back- just bumpy!

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Experts say repairing roads and filling potholes have been fine-tuned into an annual money-making exercise. It is a telling testimony of the quality of our workmanship that potholes appear every year necessitating relaying or re-asphalting of roads. It has almost turned into an annual exercise that is a drain on the exchequer. Experts argue that the shortcoming is not in technology, but a deliberate attempt by the unholy nexus of municipal authorities and contractors to generate works every year, with the aim of siphoning taxpayers’ money.

Though it is imperative that service providers like Mescom and telecom operators are to be provided access to lay their cables, most often even newly re-laid roads are routinely dug up and not restored. Even when a road is restored, it is often only closed with concrete and a layer of asphalt; standards of road engineering are not followed. ‘The technology is there, but not the will’- The problem with the city roads, as I see it, is not a technical issue, but of governance. Road works have turned into an annual cycle. If a road is re-laid scientifically, I see no reason for it to be disturbed for at least five years.

It is not for want of technical know-how that our roads are not laid properly. It is a deliberate attempt to create civic works. Outrage about potholes is seen as an opportunity to seek funds from the State government. This is having a huge economic impact on honest taxpayers in more ways than one. The cost of works being carried out repeatedly, cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance, and health of motorists. As long as cheap quality tar is being used and layered too thinly, we will continue to have these problems every year. It’s an obvious pattern and I wonder why nobody is looking into this, or better yet, our city officials should visit other metropolitan cities in India or other countries and see how they are coping with this matter. Without any delay, MCC should undertake a major exercise to refurbish City’s potholes. instead of fixing some of the worst bad main roads, our authorities are concretizing inner and side roads- are these officials hooked on stupidity or what? Really not a Smart idea!

Potholes aren’t just a nuisance for drivers; they also constitute dangerous safety hazards that can produce substantial damage to vehicles, force drivers to veer suddenly in traffic, or even cause the driver to lose control of a vehicle after contact. The gaping streets can also damage a car’s alignment and suspension system. The city crews should take quick action to fix the potholes before they get deep and worse — thereby avoiding severe driving hazards and vehicle damages. So, while waiting for these roads to be restored for a smooth ride, just brace yourself because it’s once again pothole season here.

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The actual work is done by contractors chosen by method of closed bidding. Contracts are awarded based on (hold your breath here) material used. Not work definition, not benefit to the citizen but amount of material used. If you see unnecessary pillars, metal used to build something you know why. Also starting a project ensures all corresponding bribes are paid and once started we haven’t seen anything stopped though a lot delayed so its a matter of time for the contractor. Also, though I don’t know this, the quality of construction/work done by an agency is not a factor that goes through much scrutiny. Many potholes are fixed every year sometimes more than once a year and yet they fall apart very quickly and demand rework which is not covered by the original contract

In conclusion. Why can’t an economically thriving city get its roads right? What is stopping the authorities from getting work done? Is it pure laziness or is there an undercurrent of other not so obvious reasons? How can it be fixed-We need to fix responsibility and adhere to a preset framework. We need to evolve a better system than what is in place now because there are too many people involved. Too much bureaucracy is a bad thing. It slows down the decision making process, increases corruption and nepotism and thus slows down the work. At the end, the citizens suffer. If we are really looking in transforming Mangaluru into a “Smart City”, we need “Smart” officials who can plan well and do the things right-if not Mangaluru will remain as “Dumb City” and not a “Smart City?”

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  1. Its not only potholes. Even concrete roads have serious damages for example at the streach near Shedigudde vegetable market the concrete is coming off and iron rods are exposed – surely a serious threat to 2 wheelers.

    Actually it is more meaningful for us to block the roads and protest. Any takers?

    MCC staff are not just there to collect salaries. Somehow – this smart city hype has had them under the illusion that they have done great jobs and their efforts have borne fruit.

    My personal view is that – it is disgusting to see posters of MCC/MLA/MP – let them just do their jobs without posters. We do not need posters. Perhaps we can organize a day – take down posters day!!

  2. Bravo! Well researched and well drafted in this report- I agree 100% what the author has mentioned in this report. Thank you Mr D’souza and for highlighting various civic issues that are haunting the citizens- We want tax payers money to be utilized wisely and not to fill the corporators/MCC officials pockets.

  3. “Why can’t an economically thriving city get its roads right? ”

    Very simple – Mangaluru people deserve what they have for electing incompetent people and setting low expectations. This conversation is not complete as long as we continue to ignore the role of elected representatives.

  4. Very simple – Mangaluru people deserve what they have for electing incompetent people and setting low expectations. -Atheist Mr.Original Pai

    Sir,It is your own party high command decision within BJP high rank awarded the tickets for candidates.

    The 16th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of MPs with criminal cases against them. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analysed the election affidavits filed before the Election Commission, 34 per cent of the new MPs face criminal charges. The percentage in 2009 and 2004 stood at 30 and 24 respectively.

    Over a third of the BJP’s new MPs are facing criminal charges and over a fifth face serious criminal charges.followed by BJP ally in the NDA the Shiv Sena 15 of 18 MPs.Party-wise, the largest 98 or 35 percent of the 281 winners from the BJP have in their affidavits declared criminal cases against themselves.

    The results of Parliamentary Elections are very interesting. With 31 per cent vote share BJP-Modi won 282 Parliament seats, Congress with 19 per cent vote share got 44 seats, BSP polled 4.1 percent of votes and drew a total blank, the Trinamool Congress won 3.8 percent of vote share with 34 seats, Samajwadi Party won 3.4 percent with five MPs, AIADMK with 3.3 got 37 seats, Mamta with 3.8 per cent of vote share got 32 seats while CPIM with 3.3 percent of vote share got nine seats. We should note that this time around Congress’s 19.3 per cent votes translated into 44 seats while during last general elections of 2009 BJP’s 18.5 per cent had fetched it 116 seats. That is a tale by itself, the crying need for electoral reforms that has been pending despite such glaring disparities that weaken the representative character of our Parliament. Many social activists have been asking for these reforms but in vain.

    How can you expect sadhvi,yogis,swamis,fake degree holders can fill the potholes with wide mouth under PM Modi’s ‘Good governance’ ,who himself M-R-S for Mrs?

    Is that 31% voters is extra smart or is intelligent people’s district is in Dementia is in question?

    Jai hind

    • Sharia Shaikh,
      Please note that I didn’t refer to any specific political parties. I was referring to elected representatives. It includes both Congress (Lobo, Khader, Bhava etc) and BJP (Nalina kumaara). I know that some people are very sensitive to refer to ‘elected representatives’ from Mangaluru probably because of their own lack of integrity. But, I am not a supporter of any political party as my real focus is on human progress. I am calling out all politicians who have failed to do their job.

  5. I am calling out all politicians who have failed to do their job.-Atheist Mr.Original Pai

    Sir,I repeat my statement again

    Tweets, photo ops, and clever slogans cannot bring about the change India needs. If Mr. Modi wishes to be the transformative leader that Indians gave him a mandate for, he must back up his inspiring rhetoric with action. He needs to fill the ranks of government with talented administrators, pledge to openness and transparency in government affairs, and unreservedly condemn and sideline the communalist forces among his allies.
    Indians have been incredibly patient and forgiving of an undeserving, corrupt, incompetent and shameless political class that has consistently failed them for far too long. It is time to do right by them, Prime Minister Modi.

    It is time to walk the talk.Enough of selfie with fortune 500,600….If they can produce report card to Nagpur,they must share with electorate as well.

    Congress MLA Mr.Lobo,Khader,Bhava report card is far better than those incompetent Members of Modi’s good governance elected with criminal background and fake degrees. At least these MLA do something unlike BJP’s MP giving official sermons of slur language within Modi’s capacity.

    Jai Hind

    • Shairia Shaikh once again shows his true colors when he starts blaming Shree Modiji for poor conditions of infrastructure in Mangaluru!! LOL Also, see how he gives a pass to congress politicians before blaming it all on local MP and Modi!! Any educated person will know how all these politicians (both BJP and Congress) have failed to do their job in mangaluru. All they want is an opportunity to be seen at different events covered by media. However, many folks on this forum including sharia shaikh are partisan hacks who refuse to the reality!

  6. We seem to be fixated on elected representatives through the religious lens. For example : it is we who are responsible for not taking to task the MP, MLAs, the Kumaras the RAI’s the Moilys for selling us in the Yettina Hole.

    Politician is the person who thinks and works about re-election whereas the “states man” thinks about the next generation.

    If we allow through our lens of cast ( this community that community) and religion the opportunists make hay when the sun shines ( tax payers money). If we have zero tolerance for corruption in our personal lives – we also can have zero tolerance for the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVEs behaving like the MAHARAJAs of modern times.

    We allow these things to happen. We glorify them. We put posters, we call them to give speeches. Are they really qualified to give speeches?

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