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.
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. ⊕
There are hardly any good roads connecting areas Jayanagar (and northwards) to Kanakapura Road/ JP Nagar 24th Main. Three decades ago a plan to extend RV Road further south was shot down. With traffic already having increased by leaps and bounds, residents of Sarakki Main Road are having a miserable time and with the upcoming project it can only get worse. BDA or BBMP or town planners have to make an alternate road themselves or direct the builder to do so. Widening the road by forcibly acquiring the properties of people who have stayed on this road for years is not the solution.
It is clear that a large piece of land with a single narrow road laccess has not been integrated with the surrounding developments. Had it been acquired by BDA and then developed such a large piece of land would have several roads providing access to it. One may have to find out why the land was not acquired by BDA to understand the full import of the issue.
The National Building Code also requires a minimum 12 meter access road for the ingress and egress of fire and other emergency service vehicles in case of a disaster.
As rightly pointed out by Shri Udupa a traffic impact study should have been done before the development plan was sanctioned.
Planning authorities are expected to apply their minds instead of mechanically permitting such developments.
There are two classic examples of Malls on Sampige Road and Hosur Road where there are huge traffic problems everyday day caused by a mechanical interpretation of rules without an iota of foresight!