October 4, 2005

Road upkeep goes for a toss


By Smitha Rao/TNN

Bangalore: Why would any organisation want to maintain a road that costs them over Rs 45 lakh annually? Precisely that was the reason for National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), which owns Wind Tunnel Road (stretching from Airport Road up to Texas Instruments), to negotiate with the BCC to hand over the road. The road was purchased by NAL in the late 1940’s to cater exclusively to the defence establishment. But over the past decade the maintenance of the road has run into rough weather.
   Sample this: the Wind Tunnel Road boasts of the cream of defence establishments — Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and NAL — yet there is not even a decent layer of asphalting. The BCC or any civic agency has not taken up any developmental work despite requests from residents and commuters because they did not own the road. Adding to the problems is the absence of streetlights in the entire stretch!
   Some time ago, Texas Instruments installed streetlights but stopped paying for power once they shifted their facility from this road. Lack of lights also claimed an NAL employee’s life in a BMTC bus-bike collision three months ago.
   Commercial burgeoning of unauthorised food carts, eateries, shops and apartment blocks have only spelt a civic disaster on the stretch.
   Explains an NAL official, “We have been maintaining this road at an exorbitant cost of Rs 45 lakh a year. In the past eight months, over a lakh trucks have plied on Wind Tunnel Road. Naturally, the road is in bad condition. We are negotiating with the BCC to hand over the road.’’ When asked about anxious queries by residents over lack of amenities, he said: “Nobody is paying any tax to NAL which owns this road. Basically, they have no right to even be here.’’
   Is the BCC enthusiastic over getting the road under their jurisdiction? Explains a senior engineer who has been involved in remodelling drains in the vicinity of Airport Road: “We are keen on developing the road, we already signed an MoU two months ago according to which NAL has asked for tenders on asphalting and maintaining the road. We are waiting for the final nod from New Delhi.’’


No comments: