Thursday, February 24, 2005

Modernity nudging out old-world charm here

Modernity nudging out old-world charm here
The Times of India

Bangalore: What happens to an area which retains its originality but is swamped by burgeoning traffic? More often than not, chaos prevails.
Yeshwanthpur, once considered the northern outskirts of Bangalore, is today a fine example of an old Bangalore hub turning into a chaotic part of the city.

Thickly populated residential blocks, a mega wholesale store, a nodal railway station and commercial establishments have cropped in an area which once boasted only of a market and the homes of industrial workers. However, development has remained largely unplanned. Among the oldest areas in the city, Yeshwanthpur is still mainly a working class locality. Its proximity to industries in Peenya and surrounding areas make it an ideal location for families of industrial workers. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Iskcon temple too are among prominent places around the area.

Though dotted with commercial establishments, it is primarily a residential area having its own problems like lack of proper civic amenities, traffic regulation and law and order problems. There are a number of slums located in the area which otherwise has a mix of rich, middle class and low income group populations. The area falls under four corporation wards with a population of over two lakh. Over the last five years, the area has seen a huge inflow of factory workers and labourers from other states too.

Yeshwanthpur has, in recent times, also turned out to be Bangalore’s Kurla. The railway station, which earlier handled goods trains, is now a nodal centre for passenger and express trains. With many trains starting from this station and many more coming from North India halting at this junction, it has a crowd all the time.

The station in a way is decongesting the city of a large number of its floating population - who now disembark or embark at Yeshwantpur instead of travelling upto the city railway station. With the Iskcon temple located within five minutes of the Yeshwanthpur station, it gives easy access to many people visiting the temple from other parts of the country.

On the flip side, the Yeshwanthpur-Tumkur Road junction is a nightmare for both motorists and pedestrians, especially during peak hours. With the junction serving as a vital link for those coming from north Bangalore and those travelling towards Peenya, the roads are packed beyond capacity during peak hours and traffic moves at snail’s pace. Even roads in the interior residential areas are packed with vehicles.

The Yeshwanthpur market remains a key landmark and is a place that can, through its gaiety and rural tradition, provide a glimpse of the culture that prevailed in Bangalore years ago. For people living in residential areas around Yeshwanthpur - Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, West of Chord Road, Mathikere, and adjoining areas - the Yeshwanthpur market still offers some of the best bargains on all kinds of farm produce.


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