There have been strong reactions to the recent eviction of hundreds of people from the Ejipura slum. In fact, the sight of families living on streets has left quite an imprint on the residents of the area.
People have been posting petitions online, visiting the site to talk to those in distress and even contributing to a fund to get the evicted families basic provisions like food and water.
The other issue that has been worrying residents of the area is the mall that will soon be constructed on the newly-cleared land. There is already a large mall and shopping complex nearby in Koramangala and another couple on the road towards the Magrath Road junction. In fact, many Bangaloreans wonder whether a mall is really needed in Ejipura.
What’s more, most of the nearby localities house stores of popular brands — so how does another mall really help? Aakriti, a student of Christ College, says that most of the malls, that have been coming up, have nothing new to offer. “Enter any mall and you will find the same set of brands. So, instead of sanctioning land for more malls, why can’t the government do more in terms of infrastructure that will help people?” she questions.
Another pressing concern in that area is the lack of space on the footpaths and the narrow roads. During rush hour — whether in the morning or evening — the roads are jammed for hours at the junction just before National Games Village leading up to the Infant Jesus Church road and Viveknagar. And on Thursdays, when the church gets a lot of visitors, the traffic only gets worse.
“I really think a mall at that particular junction is a bad idea because it will only increase the traffic. There are no proper roads and the existing ones are very narrow. Plus, there is a huge open drain there as well. Building a mall will only lead to more chaos on the roads,” says Roshni Shah, a professional, who lives in Koramangala.
Dhananjay, a student who lives in National Games Village, even went and visited the area when people were being evicted. “It was a really sad sight. Many had no clue where they were going to go and what they were going to do. It’s not like the shopping culture in the City is lacking, that we need another mall. I don’t know on what basis the government even sanctions these malls,” he states.
Laila Vaziralli, another resident of Koramangala, however, makes an interesting observation. While she too agrees that the area doesn’t really require a mall, she says that soon, people are going to forget that a colony of people actually lived in the slum.
“Once the mall is built, all of this will be forgotten. And things will move on. It’s sad that unless something happens in one’s own backyard, nobody really cares,” she concludes.