This project will be taken by the BBMP as part of the Smart City scheme of the central government.

Commercial Street in Bengaluru to have a cobblestone makeover similar to Church StreetRepresentational image: Silver Blu3 via Flickr
news Civic issues Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 16:39

An age old shopping hotspot— Commercial Street in Bengaluru’s Central Business District near Shivajinagar, is all set to get a cobblestone makeover with no thoroughfare allowed for vehicles. And if things go according to plan, work will begin as early as end of February – well ahead of the model code of conduct being brought into effect with Lok Sabha elections due in May. The project is estimated to cost Rs 8 crore for the 700 m road between Kamaraj Road and Jama Masjid. The existing parking spots in the stretch will also be removed, a senior BBMP official said.  

“The project has been taken up under Smart City projects, we have called for tenders and have finalised 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,” Basavaraj Kabade, Executive Engineer, Project Central, BBMP told TNM.

“In the entire stretch, we won’t allow any form of motorised transport. This idea was mooted by local shopkeepers and stakeholders,” he added.

This project will be taken by the BBMP as part of its Smart City scheme of the central government along with 20 other major roads going the TenderSURE way. The plan comes after BBMP implemented a similar makeover project in Church Street which had a Rs 15 crore revamp for a stretch of only 750 m, completed in the March 2018 after a year-long delay. Even Church Street was proposed to be a pedestrian-only street – but was later made an ordinary street with a ban on parking at all times of the day.

While the cobblestone plan has been welcomed by traders and shoppers, the huge cost and other aspects of the project have sparked opposition from some activists. This especially when many streets of the city are in a dilapidated condition with broken pavements and filled with potholes.

Reshma Udupi, an activist of the Forum For Urban Governance and Commons, said, “We have been asking BBMP to hold large scale public consultation exercise before going for any infrastructure projects. This is not only to do with TenderSURE roads but all kinds of city development projects. The city belongs to everyone and not only the elites or the designer of these streets. This projects are not legal as they are not approved by the Central Metropolitan Committee as per the Karnataka Municipalities Act. At least the citizens of the ward have to be notified.”

She added, “This exercise encourages exclusion. We have held discussions with technical experts who have highlighted that in the name of beautification and following international standards, crores of rupees are spent without meaning. Now with the BBMP shutting their RTI cell, it is very hard to get information.”

Read: Bengaluru's civic body shuts down RTI Cell, activists allege conspiracy