IT hub Bengaluru's battle with potholes has been ongoing for a long time, but a method of highlighting it has taken matters to a new level. A satirical take on the condition of Bengaluru roads showcased an individual dressed up as an astronaut walking around the streets of Bengaluru's Heriohalli in a tweet on Monday. The video was posted by artist Badal Nanjundaswamy, who is known for creating canvas out of civic issues. This time around, he roped in actor Poornachandra Mysore, who was happy to be a part of this peculiar canvas by fake moonwalking on the side of the street. He tagged B.H. Anil Kumar, a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) commissioner and BBMP Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjuna in his tweet.
In the video, an astronaut can be seen walking on a cratered surface, with the speed of each step he takes making it apparent that there are gravity considerations. As he painstakingly makes his way forward, just when one begins to wonder about the details, such as 'which planet?', etc., a car drives past him making it abundantly clear the 'planet' is Earth. The video comes at a time of unprecedented Indian interest in space given that Chandrayaan-2 is just days away from its soft-landing on the Lunar surface.
In 2015, Nanjundaswamy had also installed a life-sized crocodile in the middle of the street in Bengaluru to attract the attention of civic authorities. He also works with NGOs for causes that matter but are usually not turning their attention to. In 2016, he had turned potholes into mermaid installation in Bengaluru. He had also painted a picture of ‘Yamaraj’ with his mouth centered on an open manhole.
Bengaluru's roads and their woes have long been the subject of protests due to pothole and manhole problems which are deepened (figuratively and literally) during the rains. This year, Bengaluru Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun has decided to undertake inspections from September 6 along with senior officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, and major roads and safety departments. Earlier this year, the Karnataka High Court had said that good roads are a fundamental right and to award compensation to those who have suffered damage and loss due to the poor condition.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) collects a high property tax, although it has repeatedly faced allegations of not tending to the potholes on its road network. BBMP had also proposed a sensor-based identification technology for roads to analyze the strength of the roads and predict if they are prone to potholes.