Are HC Diktats on Civic Issues Doing Bengaluru Any Good?

The Karnataka HC has berated officials and given deadline after deadline to deal with Bengaluru’s civic issues.  

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

First Dusshera, then Diwali and now Christmas. These aren’t just festivals, but also the days coincide with a series of deadlines set by the Karnataka High Court for solving some of Bengaluru’s civic woes.

From the mismanagement of waste that leads to piles of accumulated garbage or black spots, to Bengaluru’s infamous pothole problem, the court has ordered authorities on all civic matters in the last few months. Berating civic agency officials and setting deadline after deadline are the signs of an active high court.

But to what use?

Weeks after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had been told to rid the road of all the craters, a 22-year-old motorist lost his life while trying to avoid a pothole on 10 December near Kammanahalli.

The latest deadline? 25 December.

While the BBMP continues to claim that there are only 35 potholes left to be filled in the city, Monday’s mishap paints a different picture.

Is there any sense in delivering such judgments? Or should the court adopt a more long-term and well-thought out plan of action.

Here is what Bengaluru’s citizens have to say.

Both Government and Public Are to Blame

Suleiman, a resident of Rajendra Nagar in Koramangala, lives across the road from a garbage dump abutting the Regional Passport Office there.

“I live right next to this area. Both the public and the authorities are to blame for the growing mess. The public is responsible as they come and dump their household waste in the middle of the night. They all have arrangement for their garbage to be picked up from their homes, but they don’t give the waste to them. They come and dump it here.”
Suleiman, Resident

He said that even though local authorities were trying to do their best, they were impeded by people’s lack of civic sense.

“After the recent high court order, work went on for two days. In fact, collection was more regular and thorough than before. But after that, everything has gone back to the same. If the people support the authorities’ efforts, the garbage problem can really come down.”

Another resident, who lives in the same area, laid the blame squarely on the public.

“I live by the main road where the dump can be seen. We see that the authorities are cleaning but people come and dump (garbage) at night. I have no complaints with the corporation. It is the people who are the problem.” said Kantamani.

A garbage dump in Shantinagar.
A garbage dump in Shantinagar.
(Photo: The Quint/Arpita Raj)

Overall, HC Intervention is Welcome

“Living in Bengaluru, people in the HC, the judges feel the same pain that all of us feel, whether it’s the traffic, illegal hoardings or potholes or garbage. They feel the same things. “ said Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB).

‘HC Orders Need to be Based in Reality’

Ravi Menezes, another Bengaluru resident, said that while the judgments were welcome, they needed to be more realistic.

“If it’s required to have a high court to make a judgment to see that things are done, then why not. At least there’ll be some movement. It’s a step in the right direction but it needs to be done more realistically.” he said.

According to Aruna Newton, a resident of Indiranagar, the High Court judgments needed to be more informed and based in reality.

“I really believe that the HC, in order for any of these diktats to be effective, must get a clearer understanding of what is happening on the ground. I have reason to believe that they have been deliberately misled, or that they don’t have the information they need in order to make these diktats yield results.”
Aruna Newton, Resident

Possible Solutions

Citizens have suggested a few solutions to ensure Bengaluru deals with its civic issues effectively:

1. Decentralise authority

2. Hold officials accountable

3. Address systemic issues

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