Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Malleswaram with conservative tag marches reluctantly into modern times

Malleswaram's narrow lanes are reminiscent of its glorious past. But today this once quiet neighbourhood is struggling to grapple with a multitude of problems born of its ultra-growth, observes Vaishalli Chandra. Residents vow they will back only those candidates who will fulfil their needs

Vaishalli Chandra



Malleswaram is still not ready to reach to the level of its residents' aspirations. Its well-heeled citizens find their locality reluctant to leave the comforts of the traditional stable although the young brigade is urging it to race ahead.
This assembly constituency has seven BBMP wards. Malleswaram, known for its temples and peace, has of late been trying to fall in with the general march of faster life. Only, the pace does seem to be dull. Not for nothing is it called the "most conservative part of the cosmo city."
Community sentiments are the key elements in any debate in Malleswaram assembly constituency. The middle class bastion has also strong Mahila Samaj movement.
Now, bursting at the seams, Malleswaram is still considered a 'catch' for those wanting a balanced life. The canopied roads in most parts of this area cut out the maddening rush. Even though Bangalore is losing its green tag, Malleswaram has maintained its green cover with the exception of 5th Cross in Malleswaram junction. In fact, it hosted the first Hasiru Santhe near Sankey Tank, recently.
Meanwhile, new icons of modernity — big malls, shopping complexes, beauty parlours, cafes —are coming up in good number. But the resultant problem of traffic annoys all.
The residents complain in one voice about the nuisance of the beast and the machine. With the road-widening work taking away the footpaths, they are being put to risk. And the brave ones have to tackle the untethered growth of stray dogs.
"As a kid, I remember cycling to school," says 28-year-old Jahnavi Pai, a research associate with ATREE.
Today not only is cycling risky, even crossing the road is an art one must master. "We need exclusive pedestrian path," Jahnavi says. She agrees the comforts of life have seen many-fold increase.
While spurting complexes have made living convenient — everything is available at a stones throw— it has also added to the residents' woes. Narrow lanes are shrinking further as more machines than men occupy the roads. It is all because of the violation of building rules.
"Shopping complexes lack adequate parking space. Whose fault is it," asks Divya Hegde, a young architect. "During the weekends, it is a nightmare for residents in our apartment complex to drive out," she rues.
Malleswaram Circle was once an important halt for out-bound buses. Now, it is an underpass and a general cause of complaint. "Ugly and dangerous," is how Remya Vasan, a post-graduate student, calls the underpass. It was planned to streamline traffic movement at Malleswarm 5th Cross and Sampige Road Junction. Traffic has eased out in the direction of Navrang theatre and Seshadripuram. However, the bottlenecks lead to congestion during rush hour. All the green cover was axed for the underpass and this was done without a thought, says she.
But, Malolan R Cadambi, an architect, disagrees. "Since I am a resident of 6th Cross Road, which is parallel to the underpass, I can personally vouch for the big reduction in traffic on my road as well as the pressure on Sampige Road."
The youth in the area bewail the loss of the green cover. "The heat is unbearable. There is no tree cover at this underpass stretch," says Gokul Das, a young professional with IBM staying at 6th Cross.
Similarly, Sampige Road at the underpass junction has 'No parking/no stopping' signs, but cars and autos are seen parked throughout the day. "Pedestrians have no choice but to walk on the roads," says S Jagruti, a resident.
Mathikere, however, has a consolation of having a popular park, Jayaprakash Narayan Biodiversity Park. This area also has the MS Ramaiah Group of institutions.
Sadashivnagar, part of which is Malleswaram constituency, is often held aloft as the benchmark of "quality life." This place has all the movers and shakers of the society. And walking through avenues, one may even forget we live in the bustling city.
However, despite its overall daintiness, Malleswaram has its share of woes. Most pressing problems are inadequate sewage and irregular clearance of garbage. "We told a hundred times to the civic authorities to make a foolproof system for garbage disposal," says Simon Das, a MBA student at Aramane Nagar.

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