Fought Against Potholes, Became Its Victim: Story Of A Bengaluru Activist
It was just like any other day for Waseem Memon. The 41-year-old left his home on July 6 for office. Little did he know that the journey from his office to the workplace would put him on bed rest for a month. At around 8:45 am, he met with an accident because of a pothole. Ironically, Memon has been fighting vigorously against potholes that have made driving in Bengaluru a nightmare and killed many. He is also the co-founder of ‘Drive Without Borders’, an NGO which campaigned for ‘one nation one road tax’.
How Did The Accident Take Place?
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Waseem said, “While going to my office in Ulsoor, I failed to negotiate with a pothole. When I was on Aga Abbas Ali road, the rear wheel of my two-wheeler got stuck in the pothole.” I felt a jolt in my back but I ignored it as I was in a hurry to avoid a late punch in at my office,” he further said. When he sat at his desk, he felt the gradual rise in pain on the back. “The pain was excruciating, and I was not able to sit properly. I left my office and straight went to Hospital for a check-up,” he added. He underwent an ultrasound to check if a kidney stone is a reason behind the unbearable pain. The result was negative. On July 8, he took an MRI test, which revealed that the jolt had caused two dislocated discs. “I was told by the doctors that the situation was critical as one of the dislocated discs was nudging a nerve.”
The Impact Of The Accident
“The mental agony and physical pain that I went through in the last three weeks is unimaginable”, said Memon. He said that he has been fighting against the pothole with authority and even knocked High Court’s door, but never felt that he will become a victim of one. When asked how the accident impacted the financial stability of the family, he said, “I had Loss Of Pay (LoP) for three straight weeks, which is close to one month without salary. The surgery cost me Rs 2 lakh. You can very well understand what I am going through?” Waseem has started going to office from August 1.
Memon’s Fight Against Potholes
Over the rise in the potholes related accidents and infuriated with the civic authorities negligence on the matter, Menon had filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court on December 2017 seeking directions to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner to ensure pothole-free roads.
The state high court on Memon’s petition ordered the respondent (BBMP) to consider the representation of the petitioner within four weeks. “We sent a representative in person within the four weeks of the stipulated time with the court’s order in hand, but nothing happened.” “I have sent multiple follow up emails to the BBMP Commissioner, but got no response,” he added.
However, recently, on July 31st, the high court lashing BBMP said that good roads are a constitutional right of every citizen and lives of taxpayers are not cheap. The order directed BBMP to compensate motorists who suffer loss or damage due to bad roads. The order also stated that the victims have to make a representation to BBMP with all the required information (ex – medical expenses). Memon will be approaching the civic authorities within the next two days to seek compensation.
When asked if there is any message to the civil authorities, he said, “The government should not neglect the lives of taxpayers.”