Paucity of funds has finally forced the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to shelve its initiative of painting public walls to beautify the City. As a first step, the civic agency will not recreate the decaying paintings that don the walls in the east and west zones.
The Palike had launched the scheme in 2009 to depict the rich heritage of the State. A total of Rs 77 lakh was spent for paintings on walls across the City with nearly 100 painters employed for the project. The artists were paid Rs 25 per sq foot.
The project was approved during the tenure of Bharat Lal Meena as the Palike commissioner. The principal objective was to prevent littering, urinating, pasting film and advertisement posters on the walls. The project was also aimed at creating employment opportunities for budding artists and promoting tourism.
Several upcoming artists and students from art schools were hired for the paintings. “A total of 35 artists from our firm were employed for the work for one year. Apart from salary, they benefited a lot as their work won appreciation from the public,” said B V Satyanarayana of Murugan Arts. He lamented that artists nowadays were doing petty jobs.
Although the paintings served their prime objective to a certain extent, decay set in soon after. Nuisances such as spitting and urinating on the walls were under control in 2009, Satyanarayana said.
With the initial enthusiasm of the Palike dying down, the walls now look ugly with film posters and handbills pasted on them. Satyanarayana said artists had invested a lot of time and effort in the beautification efforts and steps should be taken to preserve the paintings.
Anand Kumar, an artist from Kacharakanahalli, alleged that the walls with paintings were being defaced. “I was shocked to see posters and graffiti on the walls along the Palace Road. What is the point of spending so much money on painting walls when Palike doesn’t know how to maintain them? The unlawful act can be prevented only if people defacing walls are punished,” he said.
Chief Engineer (West zone), B T Ramesh told Deccan Herald that there were no plans for the present to beautify walls as the Palike was short of funds. “We may consider renovating the old walls in the coming months. Unless we get the fresh tender proposal, no action will be taken from our end,” he said.