Saturday, June 19, 2010

Old B'lore refuses to be blotted out

Old B'lore refuses to be blotted out

Shopkeepers and residents of Bull Temple Road will observe a day-long bandh today in protest against BBMP's plan to widen the road by demolishing several old buildings that represent ancient Bangalore

Rohith BR. Bangalore



Formed in 1892, this place is the first extension and one of the oldest localities of Bangalore. Located in the heart of the city and known for its traditional ambience, Chamarajpet is up in arms against modernisation.
Shopkeepers and residents of the area are being threatened by the road widening project of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) here, which is set to damage over 1,000 properties. "The civic agency has issued notices to property owners on Bull Temple Road, 5th Main and 9th Cross with regard to the road widening works. But the project proposed by BBMP is unscientific; hence, we are observing a day-long bandh and taking out a rally in the area on Saturday," said Dr M Satish Bhonsle, president, Chamarajpet Varthakara-Malikara Hitharakshana Samithi which is spearheading the protest.
"All shop owners in the area will voluntarily down their shutters from 9.30am to 5.30pm. We will hold a peace march and explain our woes to the local corporators and MLAs who have been invited," he added.
Bull Temple Road, popularly called Bazaar Street, is already 80 feet wide, and traffic jams are occasional occurrences here, claimed Dr Satish, who runs a clinic in a 100-year-old building located next to the famous eatery of the area, Karnataka Bhel Joint.
"The BBMP wants to widen the road by 10 feet, and this small widening project will affect over 200 shops located along either side of the road," he said, adding that when there were alternative solutions like making the road a one-way for traffic, and ensuring that parking facility was provided only on one side, the civic agency was unnecessarily opting for a troublesome mode of widening the road at the cost of several people's properties.
"The BBMP should conduct a proper traffic density study on the roads here, and only then decide if such a project needs to be implemented," said Vadiraja Sundar Rao, vice-president of the Samithi.
"The government is only looking at the infrastructure part without taking into consideration the fact that several people will lose their means of livelihood if buildings are demolished along this stretch. The road widening work will shut the doors of livelihood for several people whose shops are are lining up the road," Sundar Rao said.
The project was affecting was not just the commercial establishment owners, but also the residents who were emotionally attached to this locality where Bangalore took birth, . "I remember my father telling me that the then tahsildar of the province used to ride a horse in this part of the town. He would go about allotting 10ftx180ft sites for just Rs30. Every time I recall this anecdote, it thrills me to understand that I live in one of the oldest parts of the city. Also, several buildings here are so ancient, and their very style of construction gives this area an ambience unparalleled," he said.

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