Friday, March 12, 2010

BTM layout roads unsafe

BTM Layout constituency may be an ideal location for IT professionals. But it is also becoming the favourite for criminals as the nouveau rich move into swanky apartments. Women are the most
vulnerable as they face chain-snatchers and unruly traffic on the roads, writes Shwetha S

Shwetha S



The tech-friendly BTM Layout is criminals' favourite. This commercial and residential hot spot reflecting the swanky locations of new Bangalore draws the nouveau rich as well as bad elements. Women are the most vulnerable.
"Petty crimes are happening in our area frequently. It's scary to move out during the wee hours and night for a walk. Chain snatching incidents are regularly occurring in our area and the surrounding lanes," says Vijaya Kumar, a resident of BTM Layout Stage II.
The constituency is bisected by the busy Hosur Road with Koramangala and BTM Layout falling on either side. The surrounding areas of BTM Layout constituency like Koramanagala are upmarket hubs. They are attracting people due to malls like The Forum and other shopping complexes.
BTM consists of Byrasandra, Tavarekere and Madiwala Layout. Strangely, Byrasandra and Tavarekere are now out of the constituency. With voter strength of 101,180, it has always had a turnout of above 50%. The constituency saw a 66.3% turnout way back in 1978. Currently, it has eight civic wards.
Single women and students have created a market for a vast number of paying guest (PG) accommodation. Many colleges in the area are pulling the heavy crowd of youth. And this has led to eve-teasing.
Locals, especially mothers, staying in the Kuvempunagar are a worried lot.
"Recently, there was an eve-teasing incident that happened in our lane during the evening. Most of the time, some boys try to follow the girls and misbehave. I'm scared to send my daughter alone anywhere in the evenings," says Vanajakshi Shetty, a housewife.
Some of the residential areas of BTM Layout Stage I have become alternative routes to Bannerghatta Road. Speeding vehicles are a cause of concern for pedestrians, especially children and senior citizens. Every day, they face grave risk while walking or crossing the roads.
"In the morning, I drop my daughter to the school. This particular lane was once a residential area. But now, it has turned into a busy road. It takes not less than 10 minutes for us to cross the road as there are no traffic police to control vehicular flow or guide us. Every time, we attempt to cross the road, more and more vehicles keep coming at us. Finally we become so desperate that we make a dash to the middle of the road where the waiting continues," says Meena Kumari, an angry housewife.
While vehicles keep residents on their toes, stray dogs make them run for their life. This menace is acute especially in BTM Layout and PS Palya. People who regularly take their morning and evening walks carry a stick to keep the dogs at bay. Ask any of them, they will say the walks are no longer enjoyable.
"In one lane, there will be three to four dogs waiting for us. As we return after the morning walk, they swoop down on unsuspecting walkers. It is really frightening. We have complained many times to the corporation. But no official has visited the place so far," says Suma Chandrashekar, a music teacher of PS Palya.
Apart from petty crimes, eve-teasing, road chaos and stray menace, women face space crunch brought by unbridled growth of the city. Since residential and commercial areas have developed in an unscientific way, roads are too narrow. This problem is worst in Koramangala.
"We don't have enough space to walk in front of our houses as our residential area is used by motorists for illegal parking. They don't spare even the pavements. Whatever remaining space is available is occupied by hawkers. Our children face a dangerous situation as they are forced to walk on the main roads every day while going and returning from schools", said Prashanth Kumar, a businessman and resident of Koramangala Block V.
The Madiwala neighbourhood, which is a hub for private interstate bus operators, has a number of bars and wine shops. Night life is active in most parts of the constituency. Accidents and road crimes are not uncommon.
"Most of the time, this area is completely clogged with private buses especially in the morning and night. The operators park their buses haphazardly on the main road leading to accidents especially during the wee hours. Even the traffic police don't bother to address this issue," says Somashekar Rao, a trader.

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