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9,500 Potholes and Counting

Good morning, Bengaluru!

⛈️ Today’s weather: If yesterday wasn’t enough, the India Meteorological Department has sent out a Severe Rainfall Alert for today. Best to just stay in, if possible.


🍸 A possible lack of liquor

There’s some tension brewing between liquor store owners and the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Ltd (KSBCL).

Story so far: There might be a scarcity of drinks in Bangalore from 17 May to 19 May. Several bars and wine shop owners in the city have decided to not buy liquor from the KSBCL over its new e-indent purchasing system.

  • Why it matters: Before this, the liquor store owners would place indents straight at the depots of their respective districts and taluks. While the online system was meant to make things easier for them, the software has several glitches. Many business owners even failed to raise their indents entirely.

Other hangups: Excise officials say that these are nothing but “initial implementation issues”. But the Federation of Wine Merchants Association says that the system itself is “unscientific”. It also only allows users to place orders from 9 pm to 9 am which doesn’t make much sense.

Now, liquor owners are demanding a return to the previous system and might shut their shops for a day in protest after the 19th.


✈️ Problems with airport parking fees

The Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has its employees fuming over a 300% hike in two-wheeler parking fees.

Story so far: Until recently, the KIA staff were paying ₹300 per annum as parking fees. A couple of months ago, this was increased to ₹1,200 per annum. The parking lot for staff is located far from the terminal building. It also doesn’t have a roof or any CCTVs so it’s just access to the lot that they are paying for.

  • Why it matters: An AirAsia ground staff said that, for the most part, it’s the low-level workers that come to work in two-wheelers. So even when the employees complain about it, they get ignored. If the workers opt for the company cab facility, ₹5,000 gets deducted from their paychecks which several of them cannot afford.

KIA’s response: A representative of the Bangalore International Airport Limited said that they are currently working on providing a shuttle service to and from work for the staff. And since the parking lots are manned round-the-clock, a maintenance fee of ₹100 per month seems reasonable.


⛳ Pothole mayhem

The BBMP is currently surveying Bangalore roads to properly gauge the pothole damage present in the city. It isn’t even close to being done and the tally already sits at 9,500.

Story so far: By using the Fix My Street app, the BBMP has been surveying the city’s roads for potholes. Till now, a whopping 9,500 potholes have been surveyed across all eight zones, and the BBMP claims to be working on them.

  • Why it matters: As per official records, at least 13 people died in road accidents due to potholes in the last 5 years. During this time, the BBMP also spent over ₹215 crores on fixing them. While the initiative seems promising this time, the rains may have worn down more roads so the count is still on.

Keeping check: To ensure that the repair work doesn’t get ignored again, the new process of verification makes the BBMP engineers register each pothole on Fix My Street. 1% of the uploaded material will be randomly checked by zonal commissioners, 5% by chief engineers and 30% will be looked into by the executive engineers.


🚂 Renovations coming along smoothly

Yercaud-elango, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While we’re talking about the BBMP, let’s look into its various renovation projects across the city.

What’s in store: The JP Park renovation project costs ₹37 crores and promises a 1,500 open theatre, a toy train, a colonial-style railway station, a convention centre, a clocktower and a children’s play area. Work on the theatre was completed in 3 months. The whole project is expected to end by December.

Other works: Despite the public outrage over making the Mallathahalli Lake a tourist spot, the ₹59 crore project is moving along without any major hitches. The project entails the construction of a compound wall around the lake, a glasshouse, another toy train, a floating bridge and parking facilities.

  • Criticism: For one, environmentalists say that the project ignores high court orders which prohibit any work in the lake. The project might also affect the water holding capacity of the lake which will adversely affect the water scarcity in the city.


👾 Step into virtual reality

The Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) is all set to host the seventh edition of City Scripts, an urban writing festival, from 20 May to 22 May.

Place of interest: At the festival, the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore will be setting up their virtual reality installation called The Infinite Library.

  • What is it: It’s a multisensory VR experience that explores the future of libraries. The experience will ask you to step into virtual caves and go see a whole new world. Designed as portals, the exhibit will let you travel time and space to truly take in the art.

Main focus: Each VR room a visitor can explore will have elements of South Indian puppetry, European alchemy and Polynesian navigation.

Even if the VR-ness of it all doesn’t take your fancy, the festival itself will feature several other exhibits and experiences to enrich your day!

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow!

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