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Another wide footpath sacrificed

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These pictures are of the 5th cross, Vth block, Koramangala, the one-way road leading up to the Canara Bank junction. The road has over the years become almost totally commercial, with any number of eateries, shops and what have you, setting up there, making it an almost one-stop destination for all kinds of products and services for a large section of the Koramangala population. And, given the wide, tree-lined footpaths on either side, shopping here was a none-too-tiresome (in fact, pleasant) experience, though, with the one-side parking slots almost always taken up, you invariably had to park a few blocks away, which was actually not too bad. And, for a lot of the people in the thickly-populated upper middle class neighborhood, it was just a hop and step away.

Apparently, this is not quite in line with BBMP's vision of "development" of the city. And, it has now chosen to take away some 3ft of the footpath on one side (I don't know if it is to be followed by another strip on the other side), as can be seen in the above picture. So, while close to 7 ft was available to a pedestrian, abreast of the tree in the picture, it has now got reduced to 4ft. Of course, he has the choice of walking of the slab on top of the drain too (as the boy in the picture is forced to), which is where the BBMP more and more pushing the pedestrian onto. Any defect in the laying of the slab, or if a slab is missing (which is not at all uncommon), you fall straight into the drain. This is apart from constantly having to brush your shoulders against the compound wall on one side, and ducking all kinds of plants protruding from across the wall.

The two unfortunate trees seen in the above picture are apparently a bit too close to the wall (supposedly out of line with the rest) for providing the BBMP's "over-the-drain footpath", and with their webbing not allowing for any width on the other side (with 3ft having been taken away), BBMP has now apparently sought permission from the forest cell for felling them. I don't know if any more are set to suffer the same fate.

Well, that's BBMP's "development" mantra for you. Of course, some of the commercial establishments are happy, the contractors are happy, and their benefactors too. But, are the shoppers happy? More importantly, does anybody care for them?

Muralidhar Rao

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