Friday, June 29, 2007

Jai Metro! chants Jayanagar

Jai Metro! chants Jayanagar
Nina C George
Residents and commercial establishments located along the North-South Corridor are a happy lot in anticipation of soaring land prices and boom in business fortunes, and the hope that the Metro Rail will not only change the face of the City but change their lives for good.

It’s a happy feeling all the way along the 14.9-km North-South Corridor of the Bangalore Metro Rail project, traversing Majestic, Chikpet, City Market, K R Road, South End Circle, Jayanagar, R V Road Terminal and J P Nagar, as people here seem to be the least displaced.
In fact, residents and commercial establishments located along the North-South Corridor are a happy lot in anticipation of soaring land prices and boom in business fortunes, and the hope that the Metro Rail will not only change the face of the City but change their lives for good.
The wide roads in areas through which the Corridor passes are tailor-made for the requirements of the Metro. Adding to the advantage of the roads, are the parks and large open spaces dotting these areas. “The roads are as wide as 19.6 metres and we require close to that much for the Metro Rail. The stations too are coming up beside parks and open spaces. There are six stations—City Market, KR Road, Lalbagh West Gate, RV Road, South End Circle and Jayanagar. Each station will be 135 metres' long," Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) V Madhu told Metrolife.
Giving details of the number of commercial establishments and private properties that would either be partially or completely pulled down to make way for the stations, Madhu says nine buildings at South End Circle will go, four at KR market, 11 at Lalbagh, nine on K R Road and the stretch between K R Road and Vani Villas Road will lose nine structures.
The project is slated to affect 1,500 families. According to the BMRCL officials, the compensation package will address the hardships and inconveniences due to loss of residential premises and the loss of economic activity. It will replace the assets lost, compensate the costs incurred in shifting residences and commercial establishments through provision of shifting allowances, transitional allowances and inconvenience allowance.
The compensation rates are based on the report of the PSS Thomas Committee, which studied the market rates in these areas. The committee's assessment is based on a scientific exercise. Those affected will be offered displaced market value rates, plus one per cent interest and 30 per cent of fair market value price, to help them relocate and reconstruct. The building condition survey which will also be incorporated soon will look into a structure's condition and what can be acquired in case of partial demolition. The BMRCL is considering awarding residents who lose 50 per cent of their bulk land with preferential allotment of sites at fair prices. Sources say the BMRCL has spent close to Rs 826 crore on rehabilitation packages alone.
Residents living in and around Jayanagar are a happy lot. “The Metro Rail passing through Jayanagar is great news. Part of Lakshman Rau boulevard on South End Road (aka Nanda Road) is slated to go but it'll be brought back to life. What's bothering me are the hawkers, auto and taxi drivers who will throng this otherwise quiet residential site once the stations come up," says K V Bhaskar Murthy, president of the Jayanagar Residents' Welfare Association.
But M R Ananda Rao, another resident of Jayanagar, is unhappy that part of the boulevard will be destroyed. "I hope the trees that are cut off for the stations are either relocated or translocated into the parks," Rao says and adds, "we need to know how the officials will solve the problem of cross roads and cross tracks, with the underpass basically managing traffic across the tracks. Officials must look into this. "
Madhu says the idea of translocation of trees was not part of the original plan. It was incorporated after greens raised a noise. “It's expensive to relocate every felled tree.”
It's going to be boom time for the 600-odd commercial establishments in and around Jayanagar, J P Nagar and K R Market, predicts Prakash Mandoth, founder and president of the Jayanagar Traders Association. "The Metro Rail will surely ease the traffic situation, control pollution and will introduce a new mass transport system. We can now expect people from places such as Basavanagudi and Chamarajpet to shop here," says Prakash, who, however, is not too happy with the compensation package. K Shivraj who runs a hardware shop in K R Market, says he not too bothered because his business will not be affected.
Displacement is something that has not gone down well with people who will lose part of their property. A portion of the Cauvery Petrol Bunk near Lalbagh West Gate will go. B V Williams, bunk manager sees a drastic fall in business. “We will have to redesign the office when the Metro comes. Also the 65-odd people working with us are worried about their jobs,” says Williams.
An official with the Central Silk Board who lives in the Board staff quarters near Lalbagh West Gate says that according to the alignment he will lose his property but nothing has been communicated so far. “I don’t know how much of our building is going to be mowed down. We’re still in the dark about it,” he says.
The BMRCL MD is hopeful that the Metro Rail project will be completed by December 2011 on schedule. An ombudsman will be constituted to address grievances of people.


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