It is a sign of increasing resentment in settled residents over continuing permissions given to townships and commercial complexes in the city’s neighbourhoods. While many recent protests have been against illegal constructions (bye-law violations), one case in JP Nagar has come to light where citizens are protesting the construction of a BDA-sanctioned apartment complex.
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Residents in JP Nagar 1st phase are protesting against Sobha Dewflower, an up-and-coming apartment complex located in a plot measuring 31,160 square meters along Sarakki main road. Residents say that once the 231 new apartments in the complex are occupied, the traffic in the already narrow Sarakki road will multiply.
The wall-to-wall width of Sarakki road is only 9.5 metres and the road already has heavy traffic. Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) have already been banned in the road as per a government order, say residents. Parking is also not allowed on the road because of congestion.
Dewflower comprises super-luxury flats that cost Rs 1.8 – 3.4 crores. "The buyers of these flats are likely to have more than one vehicle. BBMP should have done a traffic assessment management study before giving sanction to the builder," says B R Udupa, Secretary of the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of JP Nagar 1st phase.
Udupa also claims that the builder has violated building bye-laws. Sobha, clarified to Citizen Matters that the sanction was obtained from BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) as per provisions for ‘residential development plans’ (housing projects on plot areas greater than 20,000 sq metres) in the CDP (Comprehensive Development Plan – 2015). "The complex is being constructed as per all rules and there have been no violations. The sanction was obtained after considering that such construction along such a road is permissible under bye-laws," says R Raman, Head of Corporate Communications at Sobha Developers.
Citizen Matters has verified that Sobha’s Dewflower project comes under Chapter 7.1 of the CDP and as per this, the builder is allowed to have a project of this scale with a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 2.0 on a road less than 12 meters wide. On the face of it, there appears to be no zoning violation.
Narayan Gowda, Joint Director of Town Planning at BDA, also confirmed that the project was not illegal. "Such constructions may cause traffic congestion, but the rules do allow it. Unless any policy decisions are made on this, the rules apply," he said.
However, Mayor S K Natraj had responded to the situation saying that the road would be widened to reduce congestion. But the road is not part of the list of roads that have been identified for widening as per the RMP (Revised Master Plan). Sheshadri Iyer, a resident in the area, says that around 200 buildings will be affected if the road is widened.
Though the road is not on the current list of 23 roads being widened, the Mayor’s statement has had its effect. The RWA is now planning to organise a signature campaign. "Residents are worried. We plan to submit a request to the Mayor with signatures of 1000 residents. Either the sanction given to the complex should be withdrawn or the builder should build an approach road to some other public road and close the current exit way that leads to Sarakki road," says Udupa.
Sobha for its part is holding its own since the group has a valid plan sanction. The developer is hence proceeding with the project. ⊕