Monday, June 14, 2004

An example of ruin

Koramangala is a brilliant example of how poor urban planning can bring a residential locality to ruin. An unchecked mushrooming of commercial establishments and software offices have reduced this once posh locality to a mess of unruly traffic and chaos.

See pic

Reproduced below is a Times of India article on this subject:

Plot thickens: Koramangala turns noisy

Bangalore: Enter one of the lanes of Koramangala and you’ll feel this is the place to be. A dozen more steps and you’ll change your mind.
The area has, over the years, seen a mushrooming of companies, boutiques, software houses and packaging units that are incessantly chewing on this residential locality’s oxygen mask. The residential plots and buildings have been transformed into commercial spaces, complexes and offices, while the civic authorities have thrown up their hands.
While the BDA maintained that it had not permitted the change of land use, the BCC went ahead and issued trade licences.
Caught in the melee are residents who witness large scale commercialisation in their neighbourhood, which was once a peaceful and most sought-after residential locality.
“There is no zoning; you get up one day and see a pile of cars outside your house wondering what happened next door. You go close and realise a company has come up,’’ said Rita Goel, a resident.
Ditto is the case with the Ramachandrans, the Radhakrishnans, the Kashyaps and almost all those living in the vicinity. These residents who had paid a premium price for the ‘80 feet by 120 feet’ site, today sleep with earplugs.
Though BDA issued notices to 200 odd commercial units functioning in the residential areas, there has not been much progress except that hearings are on. “People get a residential plan approved from the BCC. Without demanding the land conversion deed papers, the BCC starts collecting tax and issues a trade licence,’’ said BDA town planning member H.B. Mukunda.
He added the BDA did not permit change of land use on any internal crossroads. A survey conducted by the BDA two years ago had identified 75 cases where violation of laws governing the urban building byelaws, comprehensive development plan and change of land use from residential to commercial, were identified.
Look closer and there is more to their plight. Companies do not have enough parking and vehicles are stationed on the narrow stream making life tough for residents. As life goes on in Koramangala, companies’ grime blows on the faces of its residents. “Why aren’t we asked whether we want commercial units to come up next door? Look at the noise, the pollution. We’re planning to move out and we know that is what some people want; they want to set up shops everywhere,’’ said Dr Leela.
But then, is anyone listening?


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