Residents decry tattered street; SVC assures action

Potholes in Bhatu Basti road pick holes in PBMC’s claims
Report by: 
M SURESH KUMAR
Port Blair
14 Mar 2017

“Please provide us all-terrain vehicle to travel on the street next to our homes. The road here is not safe for motorists and pedestrians and a drive from the start to finish of the 700 mtr odd pothole laden stretch only ends up shaking up all our bones and joints.” This impassionate appeal from residents of one of the most prominent residential areas of the city holds mirror for the civic body, which claims tall about proper repair and maintenance of roads.
For more than 26 families residing along the stretch from Bhatu Basti near Post Office to the Forest Check Post, lack of proper repair and maintenance of the street has remained a source of perpetual concern for the past few years. The road pockmarked with multi-sized potholes has become a nightmare for pedestrians and motorists in the area. Residents of the area claim that numerous potholes and craters on the stretch pose serious threat to the life and limb of commuters. For the callousness of the civic authorities, many accidents have been reported in the region in the past. To add to the woes, the area residents have also been deprived of some basic facilities like supply of LPG cylinders owing to the appalling condition of the road.
“We have been falling victims to the indifference of the Municipal Council since the region was included in the city limits. Earlier, the Panchayat too didn’t bother to ensure proper maintenance of the road link in the interest of several households here. The civic body which appears least bothered about fixing the many gaping craters that dot the road, the least it could do is equip road users with ATVs and dirt bikes for a safe ride. Thanks to the numerous potholes at the centre of the stretch, motorists particularly two-wheeler riders have no option but to veer to the extreme right or left often risking mishaps.  Once, a biker hit a parked vehicle while trying to negotiate one of the craters here. Several accidents have been reported in the region due to the prevailing condition of the road here,” claims Narsimha, who resides at a rented accommodation in the region.
“Trucks of Consumer Cooperative Stores Ltd and other LPG distributing agencies never venture in the region to supply the essential refills mainly due to the poor road condition. As a result, consumers in the area are forced to wait at the main road waiting for the supplies for hours and then tow the 15 kilo cylinder all the way uphill to their houses. This has been the predicament for many families here for the past many years. Moreover, residents are compelled to get their vehicles repaired or serviced more often than others due to the tattered road surface,” said another resident of the area.
When contacted, the Senior Vice Chairman of Municipal Council, Mr NK Udaya Kumar (also the Ward Councillor of the area) assured corrective measures at the earliest. “I am apprised about the poor condition of the road in the region and have already initiated steps for early repair and maintenance of the stretch, he said. Complete reconstruction of the said road will take time; as such the Municipal Council has decided to commence works under the repair and maintenance head at the earliest. Currently, the machinery is engaged for some works at Dairyfarm and will be pressed into service at Bhatu Basti immediately after completion. Moreover, the LPG distribution agency has also been asked to launch delivery of cylinders near the doorsteps of residents in the region,” assured Mr Kumar.