Wednesday, January 28, 2009



The incongruity is glaring. Vittal Mallya Road is Bangalore’s Rodeo Drive. Louis Vuitton, Omega, Burberry, Stella Mccartney and Salvatore Ferrigno vie to indulge the slightly chastened but still formidable Indian middle class. UB City, the jewel in the crown so to speak of this road, alone houses more than 23 corporate houses, 40 international retail brands and 177 service apartments.
Some of the richest and most famous personalities of Bangalore, including the Goenka family, Vijay Mallya and Captain Gopinath stay on this road. It is among the largest contributor of revenues, be it sales, road or property tax. Last year UB City was the single largest commercial property tax payer, coughing up close to a whopping Rs 4.5 crore as property tax. But what their glass windows overlook are dug up drains and broken footpaths. The roads and surroundings of UB City, the city’s first multiused development project, are a real eyesore. Potholes greet the approach to UB City even as exotic cars navigate their way in and out of the mall.
“Mr Harris the MLA of the constituency held a public meeting about six months ago. All the officials were there and a lot of action was promised. But there has been no follow up. How do you deal with it?” asks Arjun Sajnani, who runs Sunny’s, the Italian restaurant situated here. A manhole close to his restaurant is the confluence of three sewage drains running from Lavelle Road, the start of Vittal Mallya Road and Grant Road. “We call it the Triveni Sangam” he said, only half jestingly.
But no one is laughing when sewage from this manhole spills over which is often. “We have had this problem ever since we moved in in 2005. The situation gets even worse when it rains, because we are at the lowest point on a sloped road. So I have ankle-level water and sewage for my customers to wade through. Though the BWSSB promptly comes and clears the mess, the solution is always temporary,” said Sajnani. Despite repeated attempts Harris remained unavailable for comment.
The BWSSB however said that measures are being taken to rectify the problem. A new 1.5 feet wide sewage line starting from the Coffee Day Junction will join the sub main line that runs through the perimeter of Kanteerava Stadium. Chief Engineer Maintenance, Venkata Raju told Bangalore Mirror, “Tenders have been called for changing the sewage lines. The procedure will take about 25 days and the we will complete the work in another 25 days from the date of its commencement.” So that is another couple of months at least. With summer showers fast approaching, one can only imagine the mess.
Java City Mocha Cafe Coffee Day Coffee Day Square
Sunnys - Italian Shiro - Japanese Tasty tangle - Chinese Rajadhani - Indian Ecstasy - Dessert joint
FFolio- One-stop shop for Indian designer wear both pret and couture Nautica - Causal wear Ritu Kumar - Exclusive outlet for the designer’s clothes Pause - Furniture and home accessories Shimmer - One stop shop for bridal needs by Jamila and Seema ( Designers for Shekar Kapur’s Elizabeth)

• The Vittal Mallya Road as we know it today was actually christened Grant Road. It was renamed in memory of former chairman of the United Breweries, Vittal Mallya in the late eighties. The area, which was part of the old Cantonment area during British rule, was formerly called Maciver Town.The official name is Shantala Nagar now.

• Grant Road originally stretched from Bishop Cotton Girls School to what was called Tiffany Circle and along Sampangi Tank. All that changed when Kanteerava Stadium was built on the tank. Today the road includes the original Grant Road and also extends from the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Circle to Mallya Hospital. Kiran Majumdar Shaw grew up next door to the Mallya residence (Brewery House). Her father was the Chief Brew Master in United Breweries.

• At an estimated price of Rs 15,000 per square feet, it’s among the most expensive localities in the country. In 2007, the property tax alone that was collected from here came close to Rs 12 crore.
Sales Tax revenue - Rs 160 cr (approx) Service tax - Rs 12 crore (approx) (A service tax of 12.36% is levied on the rent amount for commercial establishments) LEGAL ISSUES
Atul Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, City Properties Maintenance Company Limited, who is responsible for the upkeep of UB City, said, “We presented a proposal to BBMP about maintaining the road ourselves about a year back. The Prestige and UB group will take up the financial responsibility for any such development project. Last I heard it has been approved.”
The BBMP Chief Engineer for East zone, Ananthaswamy confirmed the same and said. “Yes we have received a proposal from them, but there are technical parameters that need to be adhered to. I have sent a letter to them about it but have not received a reply for it.” But why hasn’t the BBMP maintained the road themselves? Sources in the Palike said, “UB City obtained a stay order when part of their occupancy certificate was cancelled after we found problems with their building plans. There are legal issues about property encroachment, including a Lokayukta case. It isn’t that the BBMP is short of funds to set the road right. The estimates are ready, but we cannot do anything about it till the legal issues are solved.”


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