Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Widening Avenue Road at the cost of its heritage

Widening Avenue Road at the cost of its heritage


Sharan Poovanna First Published : 27 Jul 2010 05:13:37 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Jul 2010 10:53:24 AM IST
BANGALORE: Avenue Road has a long-standing reputation of being the ultimate location where one may find books that are not available anywhere else. However, the old identity of the road is under threat. Blame it on the proposed road widening project of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
As the BBMP’s bulldozer will demolish the many bookshops on the road for the project, it will also be ripping the road of its identity. Students will be deprived of the convenience they have thus far enjoyed.
The road is mainly known for large number of shops that sell second-hand books. Once these shops are gone, especially students from humble backgrounds, who cannot afford new books, will be in trouble.
Also, the Palike has recently upped the ante on shopkeepers selling from pavements. A large number of vendors on Avenue Road sell books from pavements. They are apprehensive of losing their livelihood once the BBMP executes the road widening project.
“I have been here for many years and I don’t know any other profession,” Manjunath, a street vendor, told Express. He said he was “very upset” with the government’s decision to widen the road.
Manjunath said there was no grave problem of traffic jams on Avenue Road. He said the government was unnecessarily troubling them for a project that could not be justified.
Other vendors said the authorities were sleeping all this while and had suddenly sprung into action to portray to public that they were duty conscious. “Will they take care of our family and feed our children,” asked Prasanna, a vendor.
He alleged that the authorities’ so-called developmental projects were taking shape at the cost of poor people, as they could be suppressed easily. Prasanna said influential people in the city with vested interests were pushing this project.
Truth of the allegations notwithstanding, the fate of the famed Avenue Road is written on the wall: BBMP’s markings in red, which say demolition is imminent.

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