Thursday, November 05, 2009

A road fit for mud-bike racing

A road fit for mud-bike racing
Ever since BBMP started a storm water drain project through Chunchaghatta Main Road, residents of Ganapathipura and Srinidhi Layout have been navigating through nightmarish tracks

The residents of Ganapathipura, off Kanakapura Road, have concluded that they can win the next mud biking race, wherever it is held.
Their confidence stems from rigorous practice sessions they have undergone. Thanks to the apathy of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) towards giving a motorable metalled road for the area, the residents have learnt the art of manoeuvring through craters and mounds the natural way.
“We navigate a road which is very similar to the race track and have become adept in dealing with the conditions even on a regular bike, so imagine what we can do with a special one,” quips Laxman Vasudev, techie and a resident of the area. He does not exaggerate. Ever since the BBMP began the project to build a storm water drain through the Chunchaghatta main road about 10 months ago, the residents of Ganapathipura and Srinidhi Layout have literally been isolated from the city, with no concrete roads leading to their areas; there are just mud tracks.
“The Chunchaghatta main road was our main connecting road to Kanakapura Road. We do not have an alternative to it. The Ganapthipura road, which is the alternative mooted by the BBMP, is nightmarish. So we need to take a detour that is almost three kilometres through Konanakunte Cross to even get to the main road,” says Sharat Murthy, another resident.
The Rs 11 crore storm water drain project which will connect to the Koramangala Valley was part of the BBMP’s plan to revamp the erstwhile CMC area. The project will run from Konanakunte tank through Ganapthipura, Chunchaghatta and end at Sarakki lake and is expected to reduce the problem of flooding in the area. “This is a low-lying area and with every rain, water would reach almost knee level. The storm water drain will reduce this problem extensively. We have also taken up the project of building new underground drains lining the storm water drain so there is no contamination,” says Sudarshan S, Executive Engineer, BBMP.
However the good intentions of the Palike have been washed away by the disastrous traffic management in the area. When you begin a project that will cut off connectivity, you need to have alternative roads that people can travel. “There are about four schools within a radius of two km and we cannot navigate any of the alternative roads with children sitting behind us,” says Cauvery Shankar, whose daughter is a student in Capitol School.
What the residents have are a couple of stones strategically arranged over a drain that forms their temporary route into Ganapathipura. “Try navigating that with a child or in the night and you will know what we have been going through for the last 10 months,” says Cauvery.
The residents’ woes were compounded when the work on the project stopped for a month because of alleged money issues. “They dug up the road and disappeared. When we asked the contractors, they said that the BBMP had not released the funds. It was the rainy season as well and so we waded through hell every day,” says Sharat. According to the contractors, the project will take at least another three months to be finished. However, the BBMP sings a different tune. “Of the one kilometre stretch, we have less than 25 metres of box line left to complete and it will take less than a month for the project to be completed. Inconveniences are part of any infrastructure project,” says Sudarshan. Till then, the residents get to practice everyday for the next mud biking rally.


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