As the country gears up for the May 2019 Loksabha elections, there are many things that are suddenly undergoing revamp and makeover. And one such welcoming makeover is that of the Commercial Street in Bengaluru which is to gain cobblestone revamp.
Bengaluru’s Commercial Street Makeover To Cost Rs. 8 Crores
As per reports, the work will start earliest by the end of February this year before the implementation of model code of conduct comes into effect for the upcoming Loksabha elections. The complete makeover of the 700 m Commercial Street in Bengaluru between Kamaraj Road and Jama Masjid will cost around Rs. 8 crores. A senior BBMP official stated that during the makeover, they will remove the existing parking spots in the stretch.
According to the Executive Engineer, Project Central, BBMP, Basavaraj Kabade, “The project has been taken up under Smart City projects, we have called for tenders and have finalized on a bid. It is set to be approved in a board meeting to be held on January 31. After taking suggestions of the board, we will issue work orders.”
He further added, “In the entire stretch, we won’t allow any form of motorized transport. This idea was mooted by local shopkeepers and stakeholders.”
Commercial Street Makeover is Part Of BBMP’s Smart City Scheme
The Commercial Street makeover of Bengaluru is a part of the Smart City scheme by the BBMP supported by the Central Government of India. The project includes 20 other major roads in different cities. The BBMP also completed implementation of a cobblestone makeover of Church Street road with a stretch of just 750m in March 2018. The project started almost a year after its stipulated date.
Earlier the government decided to restrict the Church Street makeover to being only a pedestrian street. However, later on, a decision was made to make it as an ordinary street putting a ban on parking during all times of the day.
Cobblestone Makeovers Sparking Opposition
Most of the shoppers, as well as traders, are happy with the cobblestone makeovers. However, some of the activists are upset with the amount of cost dedicated to such projects. It is because they believe that when so many other streets in the city are in dilapidated condition, the government should first fill up the potholes and repair the broken pavements.
According to the Forum For Urban Governance and Commons activist, Reshma Udupi, they have been asking BBMP to first initiate large scale public consultation exercise prior to starting off any infrastructure projects. She further added that this opinion has no association with the TenderSURE roads but concerns all the types of projects related to the development of Bengaluru. Udupi believes that the city is for everyone and not only for the elite or designer class.
Udupi even stated that such projects do not come under the legal bracket as it does not have an approval from the Central Metropolitan Committee. Such approval is quintessential according to the Karnataka Municipalities Act.
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