Return of the good old days...

Last Updated : 18 November 2011, 17:32 IST
Last Updated : 18 November 2011, 17:32 IST

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Walking down MG Road or Brigade Road, especially during public holidays and weekends, has become quite a challenge. But the owners of stores and eateries on these roads are not complaining.

When the Metro Rail was being constructed here, it was these commercial establishments that bore the brunt.

One would often hear shopkeepers complaining of dust or lack of parking because of the Metro construction. But today, they heave a sigh of relief! Not only are they getting a steady stream of customers, but their business is slowly picking up as well.

Says Vikram Bhatt, the owner of Ullas Refreshments, an eatery that has been on MG Road for more  than 33 years, “Most of our regular customers had stopped coming because of the Metro Rail construction. But now, I am glad that it has finally started. All those familiar faces are returning and the business is slowly coming back on track. We also have many new customers who take a joyride on the Metro Rail over the weekend and then come here for a snack with their families.”

Many shopkeepers feel it’s too early to gauge if there has been a rise in profit. “There is a lot of floating crowd on Sundays but most of the people come to take a ride on the Metro Rail. Few of them actually buy something,” says Shiva, who sells second-hand books on MG Road.

Until recently, small-time vendors selling pani-puri, peanuts and chappals were benefitting a lot from the situation.

In fact, one chaat-seller had hiked the rate of all his items by Rs 10.

On being asked about the hike, he had defended himself saying, “When people come here for a ride on the Metro Rail, they are ready to pay a price. After all, we are making up for the loss that we incurred when the Metro Rail was being constructed.”

But this joy was shortlived as the traffic police, along with the BBMP, recently
evicted these small establishments.

Talking to Metrolife, MA Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security), says he has been monitoring the traffic as well as inspecting MG Road.

He reasons that most of these vendors had no legal permission to sell items on the roads and were eating into the space of pedestrians.

 “The pedestrian traffic on MG Road is at its worst during weekends. With so many vendors trying to make a quick buck on the footpath, most pedestrians take to the road which in turn affects traffic movement. So all the small vendors, who didn’t carry a licence, were removed to make space for pedestrians. Things should be  under control now,” Saleem adds.

Published 18 November 2011, 17:32 IST

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