Will the renovation of Commercial street ever be completed? Just weeks after a complete revamp of the street located in central Bengaluru’s Shivajinagar, parts of the newly-laid footpath on the street have been ripped out.
Pictures accessed by TNM from just a couple of days ago show that the cobblestones laid on the footpath have been dislodged, and the footpaths are nothing but sand and gravel. The chunks from the footpath that have come undone are lying around, waiting to be fixed or at least cleared by authorities.
Speaking to TNM, the Chief Engineer of Smart City Project in Bengaluru said that the cobblestones were removed as their colour had faded a bit. "So it was decided that it will be removed and new cobblestones will be put. We are now doing something different, like we have done on Church Street. This is being done as per Minister R Ashoka's instruction. This rework will be over by December 15-20," said Vinayak Sugur, Chief Engineer of the Smart City Project.
Commercial Street is a popular shopping destination in Bengaluru and sees large crowds on the weekend as people from across the city visit the area for their shopping needs. Just three months ago, the newly-revamped street was announced with much fanfare. The project to beautify Commercial Street and to make it more pedestrian-friendly was taken up under the Bengaluru Smart City Project.
After months and years of delays, the work was finally completed in 2021, after an expenditure of Rs 5.5 crore. However, the Commercial Street project has been plagued with several issues before. According to a report in The Hindu, Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka had stated that he had received several complaints about the quality of work being carried out. He had also stated that the cobblestone tiles which were laid were of poor quality and he had instructed the contractor to change them.
In July, the then Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had visited the street to inspect it and had even appreciated the officials for the work done. However, just a day later, pictures surfaced from the street, where the cobblestones on the footpath were seen dislodged, and water spewed out of pipes from the footpath. An official, speaking to TNM, had then clarified that the waterlogging was caused as the connection to the drainage hadn’t been completed yet.
Several such projects have been taken up in Bengaluru where shoddy workmanship has led to residents being made to suffer. One of the biggest hindrances, evident across the city, is the number of dug-up roads due to the Smart City Project, which has also seen immense delays.