Road to Shame

One thing is for sure. With the onset of the monsoons, there is a section of people who smile with glee, rub their hands in anticipation & can’t wait to laugh all the way to the bank soon. These unique set of people, called ‘road contractors’, are those who lay Bangalore roads. Actually, lay is quite an apt term as those who get laid or waylaid – depending on which frame of mind you are in – by these ‘craters-in-the-guise-of-roads’ are poor sods like us, who accept these conditions with a philosophical shrug. Swalpa adjust maaduthivi, nodi!

Let me digress a bit here. Recently, I asked an acquaintance of mine, hell bent on emigrating, his reason for leaving. He thought for a while and said he’d give me just one example. According to him, there is no other country, he felt, where the same roads are laid and relaid upon year after year in cities such as in Namma Bengaluru!!! Is it worthwhile, he asked, to stay in a country where unscrupulous politicians & city administrators collude with contractors to siphon off public money year after year, with appalling regularity and consistency. Did I want more examples, he asked, to prove his point about corruption that is so endemic that we accept it all with nary a whimper of a protest? I shook my head.

To experience his frustration, join me on a bone jarring, earth shaking ride on a two wheeler (camera in one hand, the other on the accelerator & brake) on ‘Double Road’ in Indiranagar to guage its roadworthiness after a couple of rains. Do note that this is in a city that is dubbed the ‘Silicon City of India’ and is said to be emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing cities.

13 Comments so far

  1. Radman (unregistered) on September 21st, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

    anyone want to start a road paving and construction company. i will put up the initial capital. serious. i have been looking at infrastructure (low tech) in india for some time.


  2. Christopher (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

    Well first of all, despite the intention, what you did was totally dangerous. Driving with camera in one hand considering the condition of the road is almost like inviting troube.

    Having said that the vicious circle you talked about is true. Local administrators/politicians go hand in hand with the contractors in doing this. The contractor bribes the administrators/politicians so that he gets the contract. In return for the bribe the contractor gets promised that he will get the contract next time too..and the contractor ensures that the “next time” is as soon as possible. This way a continous supply of illegal money is ensured for both the administrators and contractors.


  3. Christopher (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

    Well first of all, despite the intention, what you did was totally dangerous. Driving with camera in one hand considering the condition of the road is almost like inviting troube.

    Having said that the vicious circle you talked about is true. Local administrators/politicians go hand in hand with the contractors in doing this. The contractor bribes the administrators/politicians so that he gets the contract. In return for the bribe the contractor gets promised that he will get the contract next time too..and the contractor ensures that the “next time” is as soon as possible. This way a continous supply of illegal money is ensured for both the administrators and contractors.


  4. Lokesh (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

    This is awesome attempt Ravi at showcasing the state of Bangalore roads. Writing about or showing pictures about it is one thing but actually going out there on a ride is a different ball game altogether. You have captured what it is like on the roads. Imagine the risks that are involved for riding on roads like this. It will get worse when it rains & when all those potholes are filled with water. And this is in one of the prime areas of Bangalore. So one can imagine how some of the other areas are.

    I suppose the need of the hour is some kind of a pressure group to be set up involving the citizens of the city. Nice talking & requesting is not going to work with the administrators.


  5. Sharath (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

    Ravi : You’ve pulled off a deadly stunt, to prove a point. And I must say you’ve been successful. Where was the camera mounted ? Did you sling it around your neck, or did you mount it in some special way ?

    Whatever you did, this is great footage ! Hope the people concerned can take that bumpy ride with you – even if it’s courtesy YouTube.

    I also just noticed that YouTube has plugged in a message right in the middle of the frame; since when are they doing that ?


  6. Ravi (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    Radman: What is needed from our city administators is the absolute imperative to raise their & the city’s benchmarks of governance and administration. Unfortunately, money making is their sole motive; nothing else matters.

    Christopher/Sharath: Yes, on hindsight, I agree that I have been foolish with this exercise and could have really ‘landed’ in trouble. Still, it had to be done. See how deplorable the stretch is?

    Lokesh: Pressure Group? I think citizens should just come out of the comfort of their homes and protest against this shoddy state of affairs. Also, be present physically during the laying of the roads to ensure strict conformance.


  7. silkboard (unregistered) on September 25th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    Good one Ravi. A shameful ride indeed. But I assure you that its not just Bangalore. This lay-relay ‘circle’ or ‘nexus’ exists in most other cities of India bog or small.


  8. Vinod (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.


  9. Vinod (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.


  10. Vinod Potty (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.


  11. Vinod Potty (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.


  12. Vinod Potty (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.


  13. Vinod Potty (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    The message is from a video converter used to convert the format of the video and not from U Tube.

    And who elected those politicians?
    U and me right?

    Its easy to point fingers and blame :-)
    Its noble to Admit and repent :-(

    Please correct.



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