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Cheap posters turn metro pillars into an eyesore

DH News Service, Bengaluru, Feb 10 2018, 14:49 IST
Political posters and cheap advertisements regularly deface the pillars, while the medians have been turned into garbage dumps of hideous proportions. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Political posters and cheap advertisements regularly deface the pillars, while the medians have been turned into garbage dumps of hideous proportions. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Namma Metro, the inexorable part of the city landscape in recent times, is turning into an eyesore, thanks to advertisement posters and political banners wrapping its pillars.

Since the 42-kilometre network began functioning last June, the metro has become an essential choice of commute for thousands. Yet, the pillars and medians underneath the elevated corridors of the city's most expensive transit system tell a different story.

Political posters and cheap advertisements regularly deface the pillars, while the medians have been turned into garbage dumps of hideous proportions.

"It's time we ask ourselves if these are mere infrastructure or potential heritage structures," said civic evangelist V Ravichandar. "Our approach is to regard new structures as part of the city's heritage."

Though the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited had earlier called tenders for advertisement displays on metro pillars, the focus has shifted from monetising to beautifying them. The BMRCL recently joined forces with private firms to paint the pillars with artistic designs. Sadly though, this has not put an end to the poster culture.

"We expect people to respect the public infrastructure, but they don't," regrets BMRCL Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao. "Last year, we sued a company for defacing pillars near the Trinity metro station. We began painting the pillars, which seems to have reduced the menace."

Urban architect Naresh Narasimhan said a paradigm shift in attitude towards public spaces is necessary for urban aesthetics. "Politicians should set an example by refusing to put up posters and flexes," he said. "Political leaders and officials should ensure people feel proud of their city."

Urban anthropologist Usha Rao, who studies open spaces, said anonymity allows people to get away with defacement. "People feel boxed in by the metro elevated corridors. Officials should work to make the altered landscape more pleasant and allow them to be curated," she said.

Ravichandar said restricting posters on the pillars would be a challenge with the Assembly elections round the corner. "Forget about banning flexes and posters, we're getting new infrastructure like skywalks and underpasses meant for advertisement banners," he said.

Metro technical snag: Single track used

A single track was used at the Yelachenahalli Metro Station due to a technical snag on the other track on Friday.

This also caused a delay in operations of Metro trains. Commuters had to use the same platform for both onward and return journey.

AS Shankar, executive director, operations and maintenance, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) said the glitch would be attended soon

However, there was no official communication regarding the issue.

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