Stretch eats one's time and money
Stretch eats one's time and money
The narrow BVK Iyengar Road presents a wide array of problems. Not a single BMTC bus serves this area. The lone parking facility remains unknown to most shoppers. No wonder, visitors get stuck on the stretch for hours and if they want to leave, they have to hire an auto or walk a considerable distance
Shilpa C B
If you've mustered the courage to enter BVK Iyengar Road and have made the mistake of doing so in a vehicle that too when the traffic is at its weekday worst, be prepared to spend at least a few hours here.
It's a daily reality for the regular shopper and businessman. The problem needs to be solved and the BBMP's idea to widen the road is not necessarily the panacea to the street's ills.
The people of this street know that widening the road will not take them far. They have been around for decades and have seen it transform from being a single, narrow road to a double road. That exercise has not changed things much.
"What's the difference between traffic on BVK Iyengar Road and Avenue Road? Both are of different widths but both have the same issues," they say. Vishnu T, a businessman, says that although some parts of the road were widened, it did not benefit anyone. "A man cannot roam about freely today," he says, recollecting the good old days when automobiles were a rare sight here.
Again, it depends on who you are talking to about what is to be done.
Those, whose shops and livelihood are at stake due to road widening, are against any kind of measure that would involve demolition and rebuilding. But those living behind favour widening as it will clear the way for them and push up the price of their properties.
The road would have been 120 ft wide, were it not for a politically influential person who got the plan changed as his property was up for acquisition in 1964, a few locals allege.
"It should have happened long back. They can do it at least now. Living and working here is tough. A few years from now, it will be impossible to even walk here," says Krishnamurthy KA, a textile businessman.
Somshekhar KN recollects a plan which was once mooted to make a single, broad stretch from Sheshadri Road to City Market. If people are to lose their houses to the proposed road widening, they should be rehabilitated in Rajajinagar, Okhalipuram and Vidyaranyanagara. A major intervention is required, he says.
Krishnamurthy, who has lived and worked here all his life, may lose his shop if widening is to be undertaken. He may have to rent out another space in the same area. But he is positive that a wider road will mean better business for everyone. But there should be no compromise on compensation, he adds.
Not all see things that way. Prasanna Kumar insists that making the stretch a one-way and providing parking space is all that is needed.
"Those who are aware of parking facility at Maharaja complex should use it. Others should avoid shopping here because parking space is impossible to find. Business has been down since parking has been disallowed here," he says.
The side streets, nooks and crannies are made the most of by two-wheeler owners. In a way, that's in favour of traffic movement on the road, says MN Shankarsa, a businessman. He does not want the BBMP to touch any of the buildings. That, he fears, will bring thousands of people to the street and turn them into beggars and thieves.
Traders say they will not be able to withstand the dry period when the road work will be under way. Hence, they want the city planners to look hard for other alternatives such as creating an underground passage or a flyover.
They also point out that other civic problems are adding to their misery. "Power cuts are routine. The footpath was done recently. Already, the tiles are coming off. Cow dung splattered on the pavements remains for days together. We've seen people slip and fall. Women don't want to come here because there are no toilets at all. Customers come from other cities as well and need these amenities during their shopping trip here," says Shankarsa.
Similar amenities for transport will turn things around, says Varadan A. "Not a single bus has entered here. Why should not it be part of a BMTC route? Anyone visiting will have to walk down from Mysore Bank Circle or from Majestic. The other option is auto or private vehicle Obviously, one cannot expect any order here," he says.
All kinds of goods carriers including horse and bullock carts ply here. These do get in the way of those using the road as a short cut to the market. Mini buses and share autos should be allowed here to discourage people from hiring autos.
Electrical contractor Nazir Ahmed backs the suggestion. "It will be nice if the old parts of the city are preserved. Flyovers should be considered," he says. He strongly believes that "even 500ft-wide roads can't save the city".
BS Rajagopal, a salesman. wants sidewalks to be cleared off hawkers so that pedestrians can use them freely. This will reduce road chaos, he adds.