Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Residents face risk as stones block footpath

Residents face risk as stones block footpath

Racing against deadline, Contracting firm dumps construction material on the sidewalk of Rest House Crescent Road

Odeal D'Souza. Bangalore



The construction of a building opposite St Joseph's Boys High School near a park on Rest House Crescent Road is causing concern for 400-odd residents living there.
The work for an electrical sub-station, which began in December last, has not only taken away the footpath from residents but also increased sound pollution in one of the prime locations in the city.
Although the station, when completed, is expected to supply 300mva (mega volt-ampere) of power, the residents' immediate concern is the sidewalk which they cannot use due to construction material dumped by the contacting firm Asea Brown Bavery (ABB).
"Our main fear is that the residents here who take morning and evening walks may be hit by vehicles as they are forced to walk on the road," a resident, who did not wish to be named, complained.
"There is enough space inside the building to keep the construction materials," said Justice MF Saldanha, a resident of the place.
This reporter found a lot of construction material heaped on the side walk which is just one foot wide. Many morning walkers, including old people and children, were nervously moving on the road as vehicles kept speeding past.
They have a choice. There is another footpath located on the opposite side of the road. But the residents prefer this path and feel the loss. Even if construction materials such as huge stones are removed from there, the foot path would never be the same gain.
But an ABB official said the company is racing against time.
"We have just two more months to complete the project. We know that we have kept some materials on the side walk. If they posed a problem to public, we have cleared the mess." But Residents are not satisfied.
"How can a private construction company use public property and not even bother to listen to our complaints? In the evenings, we cannot go for the usual walks. The serenity of this place is lost due to this construction activity," said Da'lemos, an angry resident.
"The workers were using this footpath for months and they are still doing it," said Patrick Tannen, another resident.
"Last month, there could have been an accident here. Two students were walking home from school when a motor vehicle almost hit them," Tannen added.
"Our children go walking to St Joseph's school which is located nearby. However, after this construction work for the sub-station began and the contractor started dumping all sorts of stuff blocking our side walk, we are apprehensive of sending them to school on foot," another resident, who did not want to be named, said.
"Most of the constructions in Bangalore are illegal. They are not being done in the right manner. They require a lot of planning. There should be enough space for parking. According to the floor space index, if you have plot 'x' you can build only 'x' extent," Justice Saldanha said.

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