Fearing more chaos, citizens oppose draft zoning norms

Fearing more chaos, citizens oppose draft zoning norms

Citizens’ groups on Saturday launched a multipronged fight against the government’s proposal to allow shops and businesses on roads as narrow as 30 feet.

The zoning regulations, a draft of which DH accessed first, make it easier for commercial establishments to come up on congested roads where they are now prohibited.

Citizens’ groups will send objection letters to the government, besides postcards to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. They also plan to make a film to alert people on the consequences of the proposal.

Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) from Indiranagar, Koramangala, Basavanagudi, Jayanagar, Whitefield and other neighbourhoods met on Saturday at the East Cultural Association, Indiranagar. Their objective is to unite and oppose the draft rules notified by the urban development department.

The associations said this was only the first step in their campaign against commercialisation of residential zones.

“Meet your local corporator, MLA and even MP. Let them know you are against this and are worried about its implications,” Vijayan Menon, member of Citizens’ Action Forum, urged the gathering.

With help from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), the RWAs hope to raise support, as they had done during the ‘Steel Flyover Beda’ campaign.

They intend to tell the chief minister he will lose support if he allows the new rules to come into effect.

V Ravichandar, former member of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), said the proposed regulations would defeat the purpose of drawing up the 2035 Master Plan for the city. “The BDA says if there is a contradiction between the new rules and the master plan, the new rules are to be followed. But the rules are uniform for the entire state. How can Bengaluru and a town like Virajpet have the same set of rules?" he said.

A fast food outlet, a powerloom or even a unit for bottling aerated drinks could come up right next to your house, speakers warned citizens.

If they do, the city does not have enough water supply or a sewage system to support them, the panelists said.

“The Supreme Court has stayed the government’s Akrama-Sakrama scheme to regularise commercial establishments in residential areas. The government is now trying to bypass the stay with new regulations,” said C N Kumar from the First-Block Organisation of Residents for Clean Environment (FORCE), a residents’ welfare association in Jayanagar.

On Saturday, citizens’ groups launched their campaign by collecting 500 signatures for objection letters addressed to the urban development department. July 31 is the last date for citizens to file objections.

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