Bengaluru: Here footpaths are an endangered species!

Despite numerous protests, the illegal commercialisation of residential areas in Indiranagar continues unabated.

Bengaluru: Despite numerous protests, the illegal commercialisation of residential areas in Indiranagar continues unabated. Since September 2016, a federation of RWAs in Indiranagar began voicing their distress over encroachment of footpaths, but no action has been taken till date. "On 100 Feet Road and CMH Road, hotels, pubs and shops convert the pavement into their private parking spot. There is no space to walk and BBMP has not bothered to demolish them. Since we began the protest last year, the problems have gotten worse," said Ashok Sharat from Defence Colony RWA.

Pedestrians are fuming at the audacity of commercial owners, who flatten the pavement kerbs to facilitate parking by their patrons or extend their business area. The footpath users have to contend with unregulated street vending, illegal dumping of construction material and other violations. The problem is acute for commuters visiting Indiranagar and SV Road metro stations. There have been reports of senior citizens tripping on these broken walkways.

A grievance letter by the residents of Indiranagar, HAL and Defence colony to Chief Engineer East Zone B.S Prasad on June 22, elicited no response or action.
"Cobblestone footpath that was laid earlier is in shambles now. 80 Feet road, 100 Feet road, Indiranagar Double road, CMH road are examples of main road encroachment. Pubs and hotels plant their valet parking booths right on the footpath! They think the footpath is the extension of their shop," said Aruna Newton, President, HAL Second Stage RWA.

‘Ward engineers should act against violators’

Interview with BBMP Executive Engineer (Major Roads) Shivaprakash
Who is responsible for taking action against illegal commercial encroachment on footpath?

It is the responsibility of the concerned Assistant Engineer at ward level and Chief Engineer, Joint Commissioner at zone level. Parking is supposed to be done in the cellar and not on the pavement. This has to be taken seriously by ward engineers who are custodians of their area. But Chief Engineer Prasad has said that Major roads engineers are responsible for this.

Major road engineers lay the arterial roads and footpaths. Any encroachment thereafter or violation by illegal parking is the responsibility of the ward and zone level engineers concerned. Many times we send notice to them requesting to clear the encroachments, but they do not listen.

How is violators manage to secure permits?
At the time of giving permits, the cellar would be there. After receiving the licence, the vendors do not use it as the designated parking spot. These aspects must be looked into during the planning stage rather than after the violation has occurred.

Can the problem be solved now?
The KMC Act of 1976 allows for dismantling of illegal commercial spaces and encroachments. Even now it can be done if the zonal commissioner and ward engineers take action. Deviations of the law come under the Chief Engineer itself and he has to take action.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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