Panathur-Belagere Rd city’s richest slum, say residents

Railway underpass at Varthur Main road near Panathur. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

The city may be debating about ‘Brand Bengaluru’, but this tiny pocket with 10,000 residents comprising techies, MNC executives and international school students feels left out.

Indeed, the Belagere-Panathur Road, within the Varthur limits of East Bengaluru, is plagued by poor infrastructure, the garbage mess and its nauseating odour. This area is dominated by multi-billion dollar tech companies and nearly 20,000 units of supposedly upscale living units, but the condition here is nothing less than deplorable.

Residents crawl through the traffic-choked four-kilometre stretch in the day, which is hazardously dark and almost un-drivable with giant potholes in the night.

If the giant building projects are completed, this place would be nothing more than an elite slum, residents lament.

The place is fastened to the city centre by a four-metre-high railway underbridge, which residents cross after an endless wait. “Only a solitary vehicle can pass through the RUB at a time,” said local resident Kumuda Uday.

“This four-kilometre stretch is perennially jammed, thanks to a large number of water tankers rolling along the whole day. Apartments here have no portable water and therefore the tankers,” she explained.

Harder to digest the fact that much of the workspace in the IT parks like RMZ Ecospace, Manyata Tech Park, ITPL and Cessna Business Park in Whitefield exist amid the crumbling infrastructural mess.

“About 20,000 vehicles hit the road from more than 30 apartments. Besides, buses from nearly 21 schools take this route daily during peak hours. When it rains, we’ll almost have to wade through the choppy waters,” bemoaned Jayashri Shastry, a resident of a prominent apartment complex.

Another resident Shashank Sinha said prolonged traffic jams force students to be late to school or miss their classes entirely. “School buses and tankers zip by menacingly and pedestrians are too scared to walk,” he said. “Tanker drivers rush along with complete disregard for rules and create traffic jams.”

Most auto and cab services refuse rides from the area, while the BMTC has also shunned the place by not operating buses. As a result, residents are at times forced to walk to the ORR.

Some apartments have pooled in money to appoint private security to man the traffic. “There are 25 to 30 potholes for each kilometer that add to the traffic woes,” local resident Rajan Chandrashekhar said. “In March, a motorist was crushed by a speeding truck. With hardly a streetlight working, it’s even difficult to negotiate the potholes at night.”

Corporator Pushpa G M said the effort to widen the Panathur road from 7 to 18 metres will take time as the BBMP is caught in legal wrangling with the land owners. “We have proposed to build a new vent at the RUB to ease traffic chaos. The work would begin from next week,” she said.

“We laid out matrix on the road on Monday and will asphalt it soon.”

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Panathur-Belagere Rd city’s richest slum, say residents

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