Bengaluru: Will the city be free of dangerous and deadly potholes? After his maiden meeting with BBMP, BDA and BWSSB officials on Monday, Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister G. Parameshwar promised Bengalureans that all the 6,000 potholes in the city will be filled in the next 10 days.

He told reporters that around 1,200 potholes will be given priority as they are over one square metre in width and are dangerous. These potholes will be filled using ‘Python’ machines. “Pythons” have been in the eye of a storm as the pothole-filling work executed by these machines is substandard.

On a query on the substandard work executed on some TenderSure roads where water stagnates, Mr Parameshwar said he will blacklist such contractors. “Lack of coordination between BBMP and traffic police officials has led to traffic-related problems in the city. Since both departments are under my control, I will ensure proper coordination,” he said.

Encroachment eviction plan As monsoon has been predicted to be above normal this year, there are fears that many areas in the city could be flooded. Mr Parameshwar directed officials to prepare a blueprint in the next 10 days to crack down on drain encroachments across the city. “Encroachers will be dealt with firmly and the BBMP will not bow down to any pressure,” he said. To stop flooding in the city, particularly the low-lying areas, short-term and long-term plans will be drafted. Officials will be held responsible if they fail in their duty, he warned.

BBMP chief missing BBMP Commissioner Maheshwar Rao was conspicuous by his absence during Bengaluru Development Minister Dr G. Parameshwar’s inspection of both Kaggadasapura and Bellandur lakes. It was the lower rung officials who took directions and orders from the minister.

Garbage contractors temporarily call off protest after assurance from Dr G Garbage contractors, who had left the city in a mess refusing to collect garbage, called off their strike temporarily on Monday. They gave an ultimatum of one week to Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister Dr G. Parameshwar, who held a closed-door meeting with them to settle pending bills of Rs 220 crore. Protesting contractors said that garbage will be cleared from Tuesday morning.

Garbage contractors went on a flash strike on Monday over pending bills. The contractors said that BBMP officials repeatedly refused to settle their bills for the past five months. Also, service tax of 10 per cent is being deducted from their bill by the civic body. Now, the contractors have been served demand notices by the Service Tax Department for around Rs 200 crore for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

BBMP Garbage Contractors’ Association president Balasubramanyam said, “We have been facing a lot of issues due to some top BBMP officials. The officials refuse to clear our bills and reject them without giving any valid reasons. We complained to BBMP officials repeatedly, but nothing happened.”

Even after keeping bills without settlement, officials proposed to settle only Rs 76 crore out of Rs 220 cr, he said. “Mr Parameshwar assured us that the entire pending amount of Rs 220 crore would be cleared. We have withdrawn our protest for a week after his statement,” he said.

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