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Subramanya's legacy

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TrafficUrban DevelopmentPublic TransportGovernance

The power of the Magic Boxes and the Tragic Hoaxes he invented can be assessed by confining ourselves to just one of his gifts to BB – the VIP road from Golf Club Circle to Mekhri Circle. That short stretch of “signal-free highway” is a signal contribution by the visionary in Subramanya.

During rush hours, especially with KSRTC buses appropriating all the lanes, the Windsor Manor circle has become one big chaos. And, by the time you negotiate the Palace Guttahally Magic Hoax Flyover, you will resume your crawling pace, bumper to bumper. This is because the traffic has backed up from the Cauvery Circle a kilometer away. And, the Cauvery circle is already in the Guinness Book as the world’s most stunning U-turn. You got to see it to believe it. A straight road is suddenly made to turn left and then take a U-turn to reach the straight line again. What imagination! What originality! You should see the way the buses negotiate the U-turn and how all traffic pay homage to the planning genius as they move forward in slow motion.

For the full text of the article by the redoubtable Mr T J S George in today's New Indian Express, click            here

Right from the very first time I read about the magic box solutions, and saw the models for the various junctions that had been displayed in the BBMP office, I was never too sure of their efficacy. But the way Mr Subramanya, with a doctorate in Plant Biology, was pushing it through, one thought he knew what he was upto. However, now that we are with it, my feeling is that it has not only not reduced the traffic problems, but added to it, apart from adding to myriad other problems particularly with regard to the utility lines. And, pedestrians and cyclists have got an even worse deal than before.

What we need are proper town-planners, not quarter-baked amateurs.  

Muralidhar Rao


psaram42's picture

Magic box

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 The name magic box according to my understanding is due to the ease with which an underpass can be designed and executed. The word might have been coined by a civil engineer most probably. 

TJS George is a good writer no doubt. His article under reference is interesting for the consumption of the general gullible public under duress. 


One cannot give the entire credit or blame to Dr. Subramanya for what has happened in the above case. A design is valid only for the assumptions it makes at the start of a project. Even a best road design can go haywire and hence is not valid for exceeding the assumed parameters. In the particular case under discussion the signal free is not a bad idea per say. You have to restrict the number of users on the road at a time for which the design is valid. Shift and keep on shifting people to more and more cities as long as one can. There is a limit for what our planet can take.

It is also unfair to blame the BBMP commissioner. He is what he is as an administrator  IAS officer. As Murali rightly points out he specialization is plant biology. Murali sir are you suggesting that we should have only a Town planner as the BBMP commissioner and not a fine IAS officer like Dr. Subramanya?

murali772's picture

two different functions

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City planning is a very specialised job, and it cannot be left just to a Commissioner, who is essentially an administrator.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture


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After the underpass at Maharani College junction, it’s now the turn of the underpass at K R Circle to pose a threat with its false ceiling.

“There is no problem with the structure. With height of 4.5 M, it also has proper vertical clearance — good enough for the 3.3 M tall buses. The damage was caused by a loaded private vehicle. We faced the same problem at the Maharani College junction. It was hit at least five times in close succession,” explained BBMP chief engineer (major roads) T N Chikkarayappa.
A few experts raised doubts about the reason behind the ceiling damage. “It’s strange. No goods vehicles or private buses are allowed on the Ambedkar Veedhi stretch and BMTC buses don’t have luggage on top. Further, even if it had happened, the bus would have scraped through, causing a lot of friction and even fire. What about the luggage on top? Such an incident would certainly not have gone unnoticed,” observed another traffic expert, requesting anonymnity.

“Many times such small misfits don’t get any attention until the damage happens. There was no need for false ceiling. Even the underpass here was unnecessary. The beautification at this circle has led to so many complications,” said traffic expert M N Sreehari. According to him, even the rotary here does not match the technical requirements of merging, weaving and diverging standards prescribed.
For the full report in the TOI, click here.

I never felt comfortable even sitting in a VOLVO bus when it went over the many magic boxes on the Bellary Road (new airport road), wondering it's all going to collapse below me. Going through it (fortunately, I don't have to do it too often) is always with a prayer on my lips that it doesn't collapse all over me.

Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

I used the underpass today..

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It looks it was reported the underpass did not need a false ceiling in the first place..

It actually hides any structural damage..and god forbid..if something like Murali Sir says will be very whos the great engineer who got the false ceiling in place? He needs to be awarded!

Also, even after the reports..nothing has been done..the traffic is going through it without any warnings..the ceiling is about to fall..thank god it didnt on my car today! Its that bad..

Mr. Meena,

Please open your eyes and do something..clear ure depts mess before chopping more trees on sankey road!

murali772's picture

tragic turn of events

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Water logging in the surroundings of the magic box was one of the causes of the accident. A pipeline had already been laid for the flow of water near the flyover and magic box structures. Measures will be taken to avoid water stagnation,” added Meena - for the full report in the TOI, on the accident where a wall in the vicinity of a magic box collapsed on a 17-year old girl, killing her, click here.

This was what I had feared when I had stated earlier that "I am not at all confident about BBMP's capabilities to do a proper job of executing the jobs with the series of magic boxes required all along the way. Even more, I am not confident about the BWSSB's capabilities of doing an effective job of shifting the utility lines and managing drainage" here

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