The city roads await Dasara for salvation

The enthusiasm shown to re-asphalt the roads taken by the PM’s cavalcade is clearly missing this time

Mysore/Mysore: The state government decided to celebrate Dasara 2022 in a grand way as there was no opportunity to show off the pomp and glory in the past couple of years due to the COVID pandemic.

Although the High Power Committee meeting held in Bengaluru, chaired by the CM, decided to release Rs. 10 crore by MUDA for Dasara, the meeting maintained a stoic silence on the funds for the development works including a facelift for city roads that desperately need attention.

The low-key Dasara that was celebrated in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic gave Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) an excuse not to undertake large-scale civic works. In fact, after 2019, no major road works were undertaken and as a result, the roads today are in poor condition, making the common man curse the MCC and question his responsibility.

While the state was quick to release Rs. 10 crore just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 21 visit to Mysuru to take part in the International Day of Yoga celebrations, it is now silent on the development of other routes, indicating that this year too, the MCC would perform hotch-potch patchworks to fill in the potholes.

The enthusiasm shown when resurfacing the roads to make the PM’s journey on certain roads (up to 18 kilometres) a smooth affair is clearly absent here to make the common man’s journey hassle-free. Usually, the cash-strapped MCC begins remedial work just a fortnight before Dasara.

Patchworks this year too?

Patchworks and last minute works on roads and paths are a scourge for this heritage town and this routine is followed religiously by the official apparatus and the political class every year and the manner in which the works are carried out regularly invites public criticism.

This eleventh hour work is understandably botched and the road or trail is back to square one in just a few months, endangering public safety. And these are picked up again next year as part of a patchwork, giving jobs, commissions, discounts and percentages to a long list of people who are desperately waiting for Dasara to make money. And the cycle continues every year.

Fate of Rs. 7.5 crore tender unknown

It may be recalled here that in December 2021, the MCC issued a tender to repair the roads in all 65 neighborhoods and that all works were to be completed by February-March 2022. The tenders were for road works, including filling potholes and laying. new roads in all neighborhoods and a sum of Rs. 7.5 crores have been fixed. The tender was expected to be finalized on January 6, 2022. However, there is no further news of the tender.

Reacting to the poor state of the roads, the mayor in charge Sunanda Palanetra told SOM that last year she applied for a special grant from the CM for Dasara road works. “Due to COVID and other factors, the grant was declined. But later, the CM granted Rs. 50 crore for MCC and from this, Rs. 25 crore has already been received. Many roads have been cleared of potholes with this amount in wards – as each ward received Rs. 10 lakh – and the delay in completion of works is due to rain,” she said Explain.

The mayor said almost all the roads in the 65 neighborhoods will be occupied once the rains stop as the bidding process has already been completed. “I have again requested the CM to release Rs. 10 crores for the beautification of Dasara, at least on the Jumboo Savari road,” she added.