Traders' nightmare!

Citisense: Chickpet

Traders' nightmare!

But today, the assembly segment considered to be the oldest business district in the City has another face to it, and a very problematic one at that.

As bad roads and water-logged stretches with clogged drains persist along BVK Iyengar road, traders are in perennial fear of losing their customers.  “Look at the stretch of road here in front of our shop.

It was built nearly 20 years ago. And compare this to BVK Iyengar road that was recently asphalted, but now has craters that are at least one foot deep. Who would like to drive on it?” questions G R Prasad, owner of one of the oldest glass and plywood stores in Chickpet.

From Kalasipalyam to Avenue Road and from V V Puram to Cottonpet, the trading community and residents have been tackling various problems  - from irregular  garbage collection to regularly dug-up streets. “The drainage system in Chickpet is ancient. Recently, while concreting roads, civic agencies blocked even those drains,” complains Vardachar, a shop employee in Chickpet.

“MLAs and MPs come and go, but none of them have taken an interest in developing the assembly segment,” asserts Sampath Raj, president of the Dyes and Chemicals Merchants Association. Raj, who has been running a commercial establishment in Chickpet for the last 40 years, says that apart from civic troubles, even law and order has taken a backseat here.

“Safety is a prime concern in our area. Customers fear the presence of miscreants while walking down the streets during night time,” says Raj.

Traders complain of laxity in implementing traffic rules and regulations, with Heavy Motor Vehicles moving onto the narrow streets well before the permitted time.

Residential areas better

As traders struggle with little or no civic amenities, residents of Ward 50, Vishveshwarapuram (V V Puram), also part of Chickpet assembly constituency, have taken matter into their own hands. “We do not believe in any political party. We have approached the authorities directly and ensured that developmental works do not suffer,” informs S R Venkatram, president of the Federation of Resident Welfare Associations in V V Puram. Nonetheless, residents too had their set of woes. According to Venkatram, garbage clearance and the cattle menace were big problems.

“But the most immediate attention needs to be given to clearing the footpath of vendors. We need the authorities to provide these hawkers a proper market place to sell their products,” says Venkatram.

Drainage woes, residents lament, are taking a toll on their lives. While the drainage system has not changed since the early 1900s, the number of high-rises have increased.
 “When I was studying there were only four bungalows on B P Wadia road. Today, there are more than 200 families on the same stretch. The drainage
system is unable to take the load,” observes Venkatram.

Gandhi Bazaar: Neglected market in decay 

Gandhi Bazaar is one of the oldest and most prominent markets in the city. The Bazaar has been in existence since the pre-independence era. But today, the 100-year old market in Chickpet assembly constituency, is in a disorganised state.

Heavy movement of vehicles, lack of parking spaces, encroachments of the footpaths and cattle menace have turned the Bazaar chaotic. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) complex built for housing the vendors is now being utilised as a urinal and garbage dumping yard.

Three and half years ago, the BBMP had shifted its offices in Chickpet zone to various parts of the city. After discussions with the then local MLA and political leaders, the Palike had decided to convert the complex into a proper market area along with parking zones for the heavy traffic in Gandhi Bazaar. But all plans came to a halt without an explanation. The building lies in a dilapidated state and has even become a hub for anti-social activities.

“We have been trading flowers in this shop for the past 35 years. A lot has changed for the worse,” laments Dakshina and Ambika Murthy. The husband and wife duo who run the florist shop in the BBMP complex say that the entire issue has been politicised and they have been used to garner votes.

“We have been cheated by the previous MLA under whom the Palike offices were cleared and portions of the complex were demolished,” complains Dakshina.

“The lack of political will has seen the market suffer a lot. While the street vendors who have encroached upon the footpaths do not want to move into the complex, they have utilised it as a godown for their goods,” informs a police official.

According to the police, the BBMP has tried to bring order on the streets along with police protection but the local leaders time and again foiled any plans of development.  

Citizens woes

Frustrated with the slow pace of development works in Chickpet, traders and residents  now want the government to involve them in decision making and implementation of projects.

 “We want the Government to form local committees for each street in Chickpet area. This will ensure that the local needs are voiced, instead of unilateral decisions being made by the officials,” says G R Prasad, owner of Murthy Glass and Plywood stores.

As many as four major projects remain incomplete. Providing market facilities in the core areas of Chickpet, upgrading market facilities in Gandhinagar, developing the Kalasipalyam Bus Stand and allocating funds of Rs one crore for each ward to build skywalks or pedestrian subways - all these remain unfulfilled.  

All these, when there is duplication of works in V V Puram. Roads here are being covered under two different schemes for asphalting. “We had a couple of roads in VV Puram covered under two different schemes and money being wasted on them,” says a representative of Supraja, a Resident Welfare Association.

Rs 10 lakh was first utilised to asphalt one of the roads here and the same road was taken up for development two months later. The second programme cost Rs 40 lakh. “There is no  system in place by the BBMP to maintain any of the works,” says the RWA spokesman.

Voices

G R Prasad (Trader): “What we ask is for the Government to form
local committees for each of the streets in Chickpet area. This will ensure that the local needs are voiced,instead of unilateral decisions being made by the officials.”
 
Ambika Murthy (Flower VENDOR):“We need some order in Gandhi Bazaar. We require proper parking facilities and the endors on the streets obstructing our business should be cleared.”

Defining Chickpet

* Chickpet consists some of the oldest markets in Bangalore city. One such market is Gandhi Bazaar that has been in existence since the pre-independence era
* But bad roads and high amount of garbage has been a perennial problem in Chickpet
*The constituency suffers from heavy water logging due to the  age-old drainage system causing heavy water-logging
*High volume of vehicular movement has also taken a toll on the narrow road with insufficient parking facilities
* Chickpet consists some of the oldest markets in Bangalore city. One such market is Gandhi Bazaar that has been in existence since the pre-independence era
*But bad roads and high amount of garbage has been a perennial problem in Chickpet
*The constituency suffers from heavy water logging due to the  age-old drainage system causing heavy water-logging
*High volume of vehicular movement has also taken a toll on the narrow road with insufficient parking facilities 

Wards

47: Dharmaraya Temple
48: Sudhamnagar
49: Kempegowda nagar
50: V V Puram
51: Mavalli
52: Hombegowda Nagar 

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