Tannery Road businesses strike out at TDR

Yet another road-widening project in Bengaluru has hit a roadblock as residents and shop owners raise the flag against BBMP’s Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) scheme.

TDR scheme has come in for more fire. This time, shop owners, tenants, and residents of Tannery Road in East Bangalore are protesting against the road-widening work ordered by BBMP in their area.

Tannery Road – Nagavara Owners/ Merchants Association office bearers and members, with Legislative Council Chairman Veeranna Mattikatti and guests at the Republic Day 2010 celebrations. Pic: Karunya Keshav.

“We are not opposing road widening. We oppose TDR,” says Ahmed Baseer, property owner and Karnataka Shop owners’ Association President, speaking for the protestors.

The TDR scheme being pushed by BBMP allows property owners affected by road-widening works, to be compensated with the right to own built-up area that is one and half times the area lost.

However, according to the local merchants, TDR remains nothing but “a piece of paper,” which is far from sufficient. Instead, the protesters led by Tannery Road and Nagavara Owners/ Merchants Association and the Karnataka Rakshana Seva Samiti are asking for cash compensation for affected property owners.

“I’m asking them (BBMP) to divide the cash compensation, 75 per cent  to owners and 25 per cent to tenants,” says Baseer. “I want social security for the people of the area,” he adds.

Currently, tenants are not covered under the TDR scheme, since the Development Rights Certificate (DRC) provided by BBMP remains with the owners, either to keep, build or sell to other developers. The prevailing sentiment is that tenants, many of whom have taken bank loans for their businesses, will face harassment by the banks if their livelihood is curtailed.

Ahmed Baseer, property owner and Karnataka Shop owners’ Association President. Pic: Karunya Keshav.

The Owners/ Merchants Association is asking for the  same rate of compensation offered to commercial property owners displaced by the Metro. With soil testing having been done in the area in preparation for a later phase of the metro, the shop owners believe they have a right to the same level of monetary compensation.

Tannery Road widening plans

Tannery Road is one of the roads in Bangalore identified by BBMP for road-widening work. This crowded 5 km stretch from the Fraser Town railway bridge to Outer Ring Road is along the route to BIAL Airport.

According to local sources, the width of the road is to be doubled, to 80 feet. Shops and residences on both sides of the road, including the famous Tannery Road meat shops, hardware stores, and road-side tailors, are slated for demolition.

The first round of demolition took place on December 3rd 2009 when Corporation property was razed to the ground. A neighbouring building, also belonging to the Corporation and housing a number of shops – meat shop, bakery, tea/ snacks stall, provision stores, was half destroyed before the protesters got the demolition to be put on hold.

These protests are along the same lines as the ones at JP Nagar. In the case of widening at Mysore Road – Central Silk Board Corridor, work has been completely stopped, following the intervention of Transport Minister R. Ashoka. Then, the minister had said, “If there are objections, work will stop.” Despite several attempts, Ashoka could not be reached for comment for this story.

 

Residents in Tannery Road are hoping for the same in their area. They have taken their grievances to the authorities.

Taking the fight to the law-makers

President of the Owners/ Merchants Association and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike secretary Vijay Raj Jain told Citizen Matters that following the demolitions of December 3rd, an emergency meeting was called with Venkatarama Nayak, Additional Commissioner BBMP (East), in the presence of Ashok Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of Police.

A public meeting of residents, shop owners and law makers was also held in the week that followed. The meeting was presided by Nayak, Kumar, and Deputy Commissioner of Police Chander Shekar.

Jain says they hope to meet BBMP Commissioner soon to resolve the matter. He claims that they have been assured that no private properties will be touched without the consent of the owners.

Vegetable vendor outside partially demolished Corporation building that once housed small shops. Pic: Karunya Keshav.

When asked by Citizen Matters what BBMP was planning to do about the issue, Nayak says, “BBMP is for road-widening. The work will not stop.”

He admits that demolition would only go on after consultations with shop owners, and that he is willing to facilitate discussion between the parties involved. “If need be, I will convince them,” says Nayak.

In the meantime, the Association has got individual residents and owners to agree to file notices against BDA and BBMP. A complaint has also been lodged with the Lok Ayukta over harassment by BBMP officials.  The complaint is against BBMP officials who supervised the demolition and came into the stores and houses to mark the ones to be demolished.

Beyond compensation

However, the protest seems limited to traders in private properties. It is business as usual in the recently demolished and partially rebuilt Corporation property at the beginning of the road.

Some of the tenants in the complex have lost as much as 20 feet of their stores, leaving them to do business in cramped areas 6 feet wide. Their shop displays extend beyond the store shutters, and tables from the restaurant are on the road now, but the tenants seem resigned to the changes.

Nawab Jang, a tea stall owner on  Tannery Road says, “It is good for the general public. Business is affected, but what can we do? This is for everyone’s good.” Jung is looking forward to BBMP’s offer to give all affected owners space to extend their stores behind the present structure.

For others, it is not just a matter of compensation. Shop owners and residents are also asking for adequate time and notice to move out.

“This is exam season. The children will be affected. When we go out with the children, they see the demolitions and they ask us, ‘What is happening? Will this happen to us too? Where did our shop go?’” says Ganesh Rao, vice president of the Association.

Property owners across the city are keeping an eye on the developments at Tannery Road.  Rao summarises the sentiment in many areas facing road-widening when he says, “People have been here for years. Where will they go?”

RELATED
RELATED

Related Articles

BBMP’s TDR scheme has few takers, many left clueless
BBMP, state government out of sync over road-widening
Citizens revolt at BBMP land acquisition for road widening

1 Comment

  1. Reasoning by Tenants appear to be flawed. Even under Land Acquisition Act, there is no proviso to compensate a Tenant! As such to demand 25% compensation is like demanding legitimizing of pagdi system! It should be treated with contempt it deserves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


Please solve this *