Wednesday, February 10, 2010

City subways remain unused, abused

City subways remain unused, abused

Bangalore's legendary traffic woes are not unknown to its administrators, which is why they may find it difficult to explain away the plight of its subways. DNA's a veeramani, mohan kumar bn, Nishant Ratnakar and Sunitha Rao R investigate why our pedestrians cannot depend on subways to cross busy roads

Nishant Ratnakar and Sunitha Rao R

Recently, while protesting the condition of the city's subways, Congress leaders had submitted a memorandum to the BBMP asking that all eleven of them be closed. "When we forced BBMP to take the required steps to clean and make the subways safe, a cleaning drive was conducted for a day. But things remains the same now. We will be filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court shortly on all the subways in the city," says former mayor M Ramachandrappa.
Speaking to DNA, he said the subways did not have a security system for the public to use. "BBMP has spent Rs8 crore on making these subways. But they are of no use to anyone. There are no lighting arrangements inside the subways and hardly any security is being provided for users. The lack of maintenance has made the subways dirt pockets of the city. They are not at all user-friendly," said Ramachandrappa.
"The subways have become a hub for anti-social activities as there is no one to check on them. We have requested the commissioner many times, but all in vain. If they do not lock the subways this time, we will be forced to do so ourselves within a couple of days," he said.
Babu S, a trader near Shivaji Nagar, felt it was good that the subway nearby was closed. "When it was open for public use, several years ago, many anti-social elements functioned out of it. Chain-snatching was a common problem there."
Among all the subways in the city, the most often-used subway is located near Majestic, but once again, it is a badly maintained one. "Since it is not possible to use the road, we have to make use of the subway. It is in a pathetic state, stinking as people spit on the corners and urinate inside. During the night, the place becomes a centre for pimps to operate. Pick-pockets are common here," said Avinash GM, who commutes to Tumkur every day.
"During the rainy season, water flows from every corner." According to him, the lack of a security system inside the subways has led to petty shopkeepers functioning there without any license. People sell BMTC daily passes for a lesser price which is a punishable offence but no BMTC official takes action.
However, BBMP officials reacted saying the subways were built scientifically: "While building the subways the mobility of pedestrians who crossed the particular road was surveyed."
There are three subways in the city that are presently not open for public use. "The subways near Cubbon park, KR Circle and Malleshwaram are open. Again, no security has been provided. The subway near Raj Bhavan does not have lights and is hardly user-friendly,"said the congress leaders who will soon be heading for the High court to initiate action.
When contacted, BBMP officials said that the subway was built by the project wing of the Palike: "They will have to hand over the maintenance work to us to provide security there."

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