Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No joy over flyover in Cox Town

No joy over flyover in Cox Town

Beneath the brand new, yet-to-open flyover at Cox Town lies a once-posh area, which has gone to seed, with no service roads, street lights and utility services. The flyover construction has turned the area into a hub of unscrupulous elements.

The flyover is being readied on a war-footing for dedication to the public, apparently with an eye on the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections.

But it is too obvious that the poor state of affairs under the grade separator has been totally glossed over. Irked by the shoddy job, residents and traders of Cox Town have decided to stage a protest during the inauguration of the flyover.

“We will not let the inauguration of the flyover happen unless the two-side service roads, parking area and gardens under the flyover are readied. We will observe a Cox Town Bandh on the day of inauguration if our demands are not met. We also want all the utility services well in place,” said N S Ravi, president of the Bharathinagar Residents’ Forum, a resident of Cox Town.

A visit to the area reveals the less-than-desirable condition in which the residents have been living and the traders struggling to keep their businesses alive. A major business zone, this stretch from Cox Town to ITC Factory hardly has any customer, but there are anti-social elements aplenty.

“In the absence of street lights, sanitary lines, parking facilities and service roads, this area has become a favoured destination of anti-social elements,” said Kishore of Siyal Automobiles. Such shady activity has forced at least 20 shops on this stretch to down shutters.

The delay in completing the infrastructure project has made the residents name it the ‘latest’ flyover. This flyover was started on June 26, 2006 with a promise that it would be completed by December 15, 2007. With an initial estimated budget of Rs 15 crore, the cost of the project escalated to Rs 22 crore, said official sources.

The flyover was supposed to be inaugurated by January 1 but this appears to be a distant dream. Sources, however indicated that the flyover would be ready for public use by January 15, well before the BBMP elections.

Sanitation crisis
Sanitation has always been a burning issue in various areas of Bangalore. However in an area like Cox town one hardly expects that the flyover meant to add to the beauty of the city while easing traffic bottlenecks, will be complemented by heaps of garbage and the stench of urine spread all over.

The absence of service roads brings engails numerous sanitation and drainage problems making life miserable for residents and shopkeepers in the area.

The sanitation and the health department seem to be unaccountable with regard to accumulated piles of garbage growing in number by the day.

The absence of street lights in the area forces people to play hopscotch with the garbage strewn all across the roads and street corners. To add to the filth poor sewerage lines let out the raw sullage from the residential houses on to the roads.

Placement of garbage bins is the least that can be done to meet this problem in this area but this has not been considered, leave alone regular collection of garbage. The garbage and sullage are breeding grounds for carriers of many epidemics such as dengue and malaria.

Due to the extreme lack of hygiene, residents are forced to use bottled water even for meeting their basic household needs. "We the residents of this area pay Rs 3.5 per sq. ft. and Rs10 per sq. ft. as property tax for residential and commercial premises respectively since the this area falls under zone 'C", but the people here are hardly getting any benefit," said the president of the Bharathi Nagar Residents Forum.
The worst victims are the small business owners whose livelihoods have been endangered ever since the underpass project was launched. Venkatarammaiah and Brothers, a shop that has been one of the strongest concerns for more than sixty years now was left with no choice but to shut down due to the lack of business. Cox town has some of the major outlets of some big business concerns.

The waste scattered in front of these shops deters customers from entering even these shops. There are other victims too, such as the 500 students of a school in the areas.

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