In recent years, certain pockets of the City have witnessed unbridled development. Bannerghatta Road, for instance, has been built up to the extent that it’s unrecognisable as the quiet two-lane street that it was two decades ago.
Other sections, like parts of HSR Layout and stretches of Sarjapur Road, are also undergoing a transformation.
In most parts of Bangalore, a large portion of this development comprises of residential complexes. On Sarjapur Road, flats and gated colonies are springing up a dime a dozen, particularly near Bellandur. Bannerghatta Road, on the other hand, is packed with both apartment complexes and large commercial malls and outlets.
While there are many positives to this, residents of these areas are a little sceptical of this sort of rampant development as well. Many of them feel that while private parties are building up large sections of their respective neighbourhoods, there is no corresponding development in terms of infrastructure.
Bannerghatta Road is a classic example of this — the number of people living in colonies like Mico Layout, Bilekahalli and Arekere has increased drastically, but this has translated into an influx of traffic which the roads of these areas aren’t capable of handling.
M Roopa Ramesh, the BBMP councillor of Bilekahalli, says that the body is planning a range of development projects in the area which should ease traffic congestion.
“Bilekahalli Main Road is going to be widened and an underpass is being planned at Arekere. Hopefully, these projects should be completed in the coming year,” she says.
However, residents of the area remain sceptical.
S A Saboor, an advocate who lives in Arekere, says, “I moved here two years ago and since then, the traffic situation has definitely worsened. An underpass could, of course, go some way in easing the problem. The issue is that while it’s being constructed, it’s going to be a huge inconvenience for the people who live here.”
Stretches of Sarjapur Road are also being built up. Aditya Badami, a resident of a gated colony in the area, feels that the last one year has witnessed particularly intense construction.
“I moved here in 2006 and the area has developed significantly since then. If the infrastructure in the vicinity is bettered, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue. In Whitefield, for instance, the roads were redone through a private-public partnership and the traffic was accommodated,” he reflects.
In fact, the BBMP plans to widen Sarjapur Road into a six-lane highway. B P Babu Reddy, the councillor of Bellandur, states, “In addition to this, Kasavanahalli Main Road will also be widened soon.”
A more pressing concern is the shortage of water in the area. Most of the colonies along this road aren’t connected to the Cauvery water supply and hence, depend on borewell water — which is running at an all-time low.
Despite this, hundreds of homes are being constructed in the area. “It’s going to be a big problem. People are making a conscious effort to counter the problem but with more homes coming up, this could be a series issue,” says Aditya.
Many other residents of the Sarjapur Road share these sentiments. Malaika, who lives in Kasavanahalli, questions how the BBMP can allow so many large-scale projects when the area doesn’t have the water resources to support its existing population.
“The water situation is precarious as it is — how can the BBMP possibly allow such large-scale contractors to build up Sarjapur Road? It suggests that as long as money changes hands, anyone can put up a building in Bangalore,” she notes.
For his part, Reddy says that the issue of water scarcity isn’t restricted to Sarjapur Road and there’s little that can be done to curb it.
When asked why the BBMP is continuing to allow contractors to build large-scale projects despite the shortage of water, he says, “There’s nothing we can do to stop these apartments from coming up. The permission is simply given. We have held a council meeting to discuss this problem and figure out how to solve it. However, as of now, there’s no solution.”