'Takes 2 hours to travel 2-km stretch'

'Takes 2 hours to travel 2-km stretch'

'Takes 2 hours to travel 2-km stretch'

Six-year-old Rushil Varma’s school is just six kilometres away from his home on Haralur Road in east Bengaluru, but he ends up spending an hour or more to get there.

“Sometimes it feels like my school is quite far,” says Varma, a student of Prakriya Green Wisdom School on Sarjapur Road.

Sporting a red T-shirt, the boy and his mother, along with hundreds of other residents of Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur Road and HSR Layout at the Iblur junction on Friday, joined the protest against the rapidly deteriorating traffic situation and civic problems in the area.

Outside Cessna Park, amid another group of protesters, Vijay Raghavan, a retired Central government employee who resides nearby, held two placards and joined the chorus: “Beke Beku, Road Beku” and “No Road No Taxes.”

“There are numerous problems around here. Roads, potholes, pollution in Belandur lake. One of the worst is, however, traffic. In peak hours, it takes one nearly two hours to travel a two-kilometre stretch. In Bengaluru, when one speaks about distance, it is not in terms of kilometres, but in terms of time,” he said tongue in cheek.

The situation is so bad that many companies in the area are facing losses, according to Ravi Seghal, a software professional who works near Cessna Park and lives nearby. “I have heard people talk about companies facing losses due to the traffic congestion cutting into their work time. I personally want to try alternative measures to avoid this, such as carpooling and even cycling,” he said.

However, traffic apart, there seems to be no facility for pedestrian safety, too. S Krishnan, a retired manager of a cement company, and his wife, Thangkamani, who were at Iblur junction, explained, “We stay near the Shell petrol bunk which is a stone’s throw away from here. Whenever I have to cross the road, my wife literally prays for my safe return. There is no skywalk and I’m always at risk,” he said.

Thangkamani has also stopped frequenting a temple on the other side of the road due to the same problem.

Protesters from various points gathered at the junction amid beating of drums and loud sloganeering. The service road at the junction witnessed slow-moving traffic between 1 pm and 2 pm, as people started pouring in from various assembly points. However, protesters doubled as volunteers and managed the traffic flow.

If the protest was aimed at sending a message of discontent and dissatisfaction at the state of affairs to the authorities, then it was definitely loud and clear.

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