With the traffic becoming even more dense and pavements at all prominent junctions across the city being dug up almost every other day, pedestrians are finding it difficult to take a safe route.
Though pedestrian subways are the best bet in such a scenario, subways across the city like those at Majestic, KR Market, KR Circle, Chalukya Circle and in Hebbal near the CBI office are in a dismal state.
With many subways having become a haven for illegal activities, people living and working in their surroundings say that they dread using them. Some of these facilities have become garbage dumps of sorts, emanating stench that turns off potential users. Raghu Malamandi, a creative consultant, says that he uses the subway near Majestic and KR Market whenever he is in the vicinity.
“The subways were planned to help pedestrians move freely and safely but none of them have been maintained well. Thefts and mugging are a regular occurrence in these subways. The lack of proper security measures and the absence of CCTV cameras makes it difficult for people, especially women, to use the facility,” says Raghu. He also says that people fear using the facility because it is dark and dirty and has no lighting at night.
Whenever it rains, the subways near Nrupathunga Road and Ambedkar Veedhi, near MS Building, are water-logged, making it impossible for people to use them. Shifa Sherieff, a student of Central College, says, “The roads are wide and it is difficult to cross them at any time of the day but I would never use these subways because they stink. The false ceiling is broken or chipped off in many places. There’s also abusive language and spit marks splattered on the walls. As a woman, I am scared to use the facility.”
The presence of hawkers and beggars makes it even more difficult for people to move around, especially in Majestic, KR Market and Hebbal. N Satish Kumar, an accountant, says that he regularly uses the subway near the Majestic bus-stand and the one in Hebbal. “The Majestic area has vendors sitting inside the subway.
They spread out and display the items for sale in such a way that it makes it inconvenient for people to move around. It is crowded and stinks most of the time because people are also found urinating there,” says Satish.
The subways in the Majestic and KR Market areas fall under the purview of BBMP West Zone and those located near Chalukya Circle and Hebbal fall under the East Zone.
K T Nagaraj, chief engineer of road works with BBMP, says, “Most of the maintainence work in subways is outsourced. The zonal chief engineers have outsourced the work to contractors who, in turn, must ensure that the
subways are cleaned on a regular basis.”
When asked about the presence of hawkers in the subways in Majestic, KR Market and Hebbal, Nagaraj says, “We are aware that there are hawkers in these places. It is illegal but it is difficult to evict them. Security guards must be hired but again all this has to be done on a contract basis. I don’t think the security and maintainence aspects have been scrutinised as much as they should be.”