Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sampige Road is strangulated

Sampige Road is strangulated

As Mantri Mall draws a thousand vehicles, the narrow road witnesses jams

G Ramachandra, former director-general of police, Gujarat, regrets settling in Malleshwaram. He is not the only resident feeling so.
"There is logjam on the Sampige Road after the Mantri Mall came up. As thousands of vehicles get struck on the stretch, they keep honking and belching smoke. How or whether the Palike had given clearance to the shopping mall is what I still don't know," he says angrily.
Sampige Road is an important link road of Malleswaram.
"Listen," says Sumathi Rao, former president of Swabhiman Institute, "My worry is not just the traffic chaos. I fear that citing this traffic congestion, the Palike may go on a tree-cutting spree on this stretch and nearby areas."
Mantri Mall that came up beside the Mantri Greens on Sampige Road is in the eye of a storm after the traffic on this 2-km stretch between Nataraj theatre and 18th Cross went haywire. "It's a hell," says VK Dette, a regular commuter.
The situation is so bad the city traffic police had to shut down the mall on a Saturday. Residents and heritage protectors of Sheshadripuram, Malleshwaram, Rajajinagar and other adjoining localities had raised their apprehension to the Palike whose range office is located along the Sampige Road.
"I had sent a legal notice as early as May 2008 warning them of the impending traffic snarls. We had estimated about 200 vehicles entering and exiting from the mall once it was opened," says G Jnanesh, a resident of Srirampuram.
The Mantri developers, in their reply, said they would take "due precautions to alleviate the pressing concerns of the public."
"We had to force the traffic police to close the mall on March 19. I've planned to file a public interest litigation based on my legal notice against the developers," Jnanesh adds.
A resident of Malleshwaram K Varadarajan, echoing Jnanesh's views, says Malleshwaram, Yeshwanthpur, Sheshadripuram, Srirampuram, Basaveshwaranagar, Rajajinagar and the adjoining areas may, in future, turn into virtual no-drive zones as the building in question will create bumper-to-bumper traffic.
"But think of the sick and the ambulances that carry them. Think of the other emergency services getting stuck. I wonder how people shuttle between their homes and offices every day," says he.
Police Commissioner Shankar M Bidari has sought a clarification on the alternative routes for easing congestion on this public road. The mall promoters have sought three months time to develop a road behind the multi-storied residential-cum-commercial building to allow vehicles inside the mall, it is learnt.
Activist and member of Malleswaram Swabhiman Institute Gunnu Talgery has made two suggestions to the Palike to turn Malleshwaram into a shopping paradise.
"There is a huge government plot across the Malleshwarm police station which could be converted into a multi-level parking lot capable of accommodating about 2,000 to 3,000 cars at a time. The Sampige Road could then be declared congestion-free so that people, especially children, are able to enjoy the shopping experience. But a solution is not what the authorities want, I believe," says Talgery.


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