Do we need authorities if citizens can do the job?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019, 08:10 IST | A correspondent |

They have decided to make citizens allies in their endeavour to fill the craters on the roads. Earlier the BMC had said that people should approach them with their complaints instead of trying to fill potholes on their own

File pic
File pic

This paper's piece about citizens filling potholes inviting warnings from the BMC had evinced a response from the civic authorities. They have decided to make citizens allies in their endeavour to fill the craters on the roads. Earlier the BMC had said that people should approach them with their complaints instead of trying to fill potholes on their own.

A turnaround has come because of the severe backlash that the BMC faced after giving these 'warnings'. We must, however, be alert to the genesis of the matter. Citizens had been forced to fill potholes because roads have been riddled with them in the monsoon. They are not being repaired quickly enough by the civic body.

The passing of the buck to different agencies about who is responsible for a particular stretch or road has also resulted in time wastage and a blame game, whenever we see or hear of a pothhole-related incident or accident.

Civilians attempting to fill potholes is a sign of frustration and desperation, it was in fact a plea from ordinary people for better roads and action on roads that become pockmarked in the rains. It is a sign that people want errant contractors to be accountable for shoddy work instead of giving them a clean chit and in fact, 'rewarding' them with more road contracts.

The entire situation, first adversaries and now, so called allies in a way, is a sad and shameful commentary on our system, the dilly-dallying over pothole fixing and the complete distrust of the citizenry in authorities solving the problem. Today, the BMC says that they and the people must work together. While we welcome the engagement, we must also acknowledge that people were forced to step in. A better way would be not to allow such a situation to arise at all.

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