Karnataka Elections 2018: Bengaluru Hopes For Reduced Road Accidents And Improvement In Road Infrastructure
- Road accidents have claimed over 500 lives in Bengaluru in 2017
- Over 15,000 potholes are present in Bengaluru alone
- Better road infrastructure has been a key poll promise in elections 2018
New Delhi: Karnataka awaits the formation of a new government in the state, after a hard fought elections. During the run up to the Assembly elections 2018, issues of civic amenities and their conditions became the centre of campaigning in Bengaluru. The IT hub of the country, riddled with issues of unclean and insufficient public toilets and improper waste management, has also been notorious for its road accidents, which claimed over 500 lives in 2017. Along with better civic amenities, better road conditions and lesser road accidents are what Bengalureans are hoping from the new government.
Repairing existing roads in Karnataka’s capital city is a demand made by Bengalureans throughout the 2018 election campaign. Road conditions in many of the city’s crucial crossings have been abysmally poor, posing risks to both drivers and pedestrians alike. A week before the elections, three consecutive road accidents resulted in three fatalities, prompting incumbent Chief Minister Sidddaramaiah to order the state’s roads to be repaired urgently, but with over 15,000 potholes in Bengaluru alone, it will not be an easy task.
In Bengaluru, potholes are a major problem. BBMP, Bengaluru’s civic body has not been able to ensure better roads and repairing of potholes, citing lack of funds to take on a project of such a large scale. The state government’s role has also been less than effective, as it has not been able to do enough to assist the BBMP in fixing the city’s roads. Whoever wins this assembly election, curbing road accidents in the city must be taken up as a priority, said Amit Khanna of Bengaluru based NGO Arrive SAFE, which monitors road safety conditions in the city.
Road safety remains a concern in the Karnataka capital, as despite a 25 percent decrease in the number of road accidents from 7,500 in 2016 to 4,600 in 2017, over 590 people had died last year in road accidents in the city. Potholes in crossings see vehicles overturning while plying, resulting in accidents. Poor waste management across the city has resulted in tiny heaps of waste in some of Bengaluru’s important crossings like Cunningham Road and Trinity Circle, making it difficult for drivers to navigate across those roads.
We have repeatedly requested the BBMP to regularly clear the garbage in roads and crossings where traffic movement is high, but the regularity has not been maintained. During rush hours, accidents have taken place due to the poor condition of roads. The number of accidents has come down in the last one year due to the efforts of the traffic department, but all the roads across the city must be repaired and waste removed from them to reduce fatalities, said R Hithendra, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Bengaluru.
Promises of better civic better amenities in Bengaluru dominated the election campaign in Karnataka this year. The Congress manifesto, promised better roads across rural and urban Karnataka and said that the move is expected to reduce road accidents by 25 per cent in the state. The BJP’s manifesto also mentioned road safety as a priority area for the party if voted to power. The party mentioned that it will spend Rs 200 crore to strengthen road safety in the city and reduce accidents. The Janata Dal (Secular) manifesto mentioned that if voted to power, it will provide special assistance to the Bengaluru municipality for construction and maintenance of roads to reduce accidents.
During the run up to the elections, speeches and manifestos promising a better Bengaluru did the rounds. Bengalureans will now have to wait patiently and see whether the promises of safer roads and lesser accidents in the city are lived up to, or not.