Dear BBMP, before you spend 100 cr to beautify Bengaluru,…

beautifying traffic junctions

Support Citizen Matters - independent, Reader-funded media that covers your city like no other.
Get in-depth and insightful stories on issues that affect you every day!
Design of the proposed beautification at Chalukya Circle. Pic credit: Mayor Goutham Kumar's Twitter handle

Dear BBMP,

How are you doing? Hope all is well with you. Things haven’t been going so great with me for a month now, as I have been bedridden after being injured on a faulty footpath. But that’s another conversation for another time.

I write to you today because of a tweet by the BBMP Commissioner that caught my eye about a week ago. B H Anil Kumar tweeted that the Palike had identified 35 junctions in the city for “beautification” to raise the standards of Bengaluru.

The Mayor of Bengaluru, Gautam Kumar, then elucidated that the idea was to turn us into a world-class city with these improvements. The estimated cost of this project is Rs 100 crore. “The redevelopment of these junctions will also ease the flow of traffic in Bengaluru. All these junctions will have beautiful artwork, sculptures, and greenery,” said the Mayor.

A facelift worthy of a global city. It is a fabulous idea and it is great we didn’t even wait for the state visit by a US President to spruce ourselves up. You ought to be applauded for taking the initiative.

I have a few questions about it though.

What do you mean by beautification? Who are the artistic minds who will help with it? How long will it take? And is it synergised with the other major projects you are planning for the city?

The thing is, while it all sounds very fancy, the details seem to be somewhat lacking. And the devil is always in the details. Beautification can mean a lot of things. I personally love the idea of creating Miyawaki forests in these junctions as was done at Cantonment. The design pattern released for Chalukya Circle also looks impressive – but on paper.

Imagine 35 of the busiest junctions in Bengaluru – including Mysore Bank, Chalukya Circle, Minerva Circle, Anil Kumble Circle – all being done up! The mere thought of disrupted traffic is enough to make me shudder.

Anybody who has had remodelling done in their homes will tell you, it isn’t for the faint-hearted. The chaos that ensues before, during and after the project can turn Nirupa Roy to Lalitha Pawar. And this is after you have finalised the details of how you want things. But here, we haven’t seen any other details except the names of the 35 junctions. Don’t mind me pointing this out, but your planning needs a little attention.

And remember the last time you tried to beautify Bengaluru?

That was in 2011. In May of 2011, BBMP tied up with CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India) to develop and maintain 60 traffic junctions in the city. The then-Deputy Mayor of the city, S Harish, who spearheaded the project, wanted it to be reminiscent of art one would see through the winding lanes of Europe.

BBMP had identified 198 junctions and asked CREDAI members to choose from these. The consortium chose 60 junctions to beautify, develop and maintain. By October 2011, the plan fell through, the partnership went sour and nothing came of it. Five reminders from BBMP, and none of the CREDAI members responded.

But by then, in July 2011, you had tied up with Bharati Cements for four junctions – Mekhri Circle, Chalukya Circle, Race Course Road, and Millers’ Road near Cantonment. Designed by a single artist, the structures were meant to represent Bengaluru. There was no expert panel of artists who looked into the “beautification”, and the project and art were approved by corporators who were part of the Standing Committee for Major works.

Each of the cement structures cost approximately Rs 2 crore (which was paid by the the private company). The four structures – prancing horses at Race Course; modern art at Chalukya Circle; cement statues of children holding hands around a cement tree stump asking us to protect the green (oh the irony!). The last junction – Cantonment Circle – gave us art that is truly beyond my powers of description. There is an elephant which has a rhino perched on its back, upon which there is a turtle; and on top of the turtle is a bird. There’s also a panther/cheetah(?) sitting atop the elephant. It has been eight years, and we still haven’t figured out what was being represented.

When the statues were unveiled in May of 2012, famous artists in the city – the likes of Balan Nambiar, Gurudas Shenoy and M S Murthy – were scathing in their criticism of this “beautification”.

Have you learnt any lessons from this previous experience? Well I guess we will have to wait and see.

While I applaud the ambition, I have to question your priorities. As a city that often makes an appearance on the global map, there are standards that Bengaluru needs to maintain.

Of course it does.

But changing your curtains won’t help if your roof is leaking. We have some serious fundamental problems that need to be sorted. And 100 crore is a lot of money. I have to wonder if our list of to-do-things are upside down.


Get the Citizen Matters newsletter
About Manasi Paresh Kumar 99 Articles
Manasi Paresh Kumar is Engagement Editor for Bengaluru Citizen Matters.

30 Comments

  1. Well said !!!

    Dear BBMP

    We the bangalore people really don’t need your beautification project … If you guys just work on keeping the city clean and neat by just doing your job not more not less we all will be very very happy ..

    You guys recently spent tons our tax paid money to buy the cleaning truck .. whre is it I haven’t seen the roads getting cleaned .. Get the road work moving faster if not faster atleast close the project on time
    .. we are tiered of spending time in traffic

    Thanks to you we have more patients in banglore ….. Once a garden City with clean air has now become a crazy traffic , dusty pollution .. most of thr credit goes to you

    • please plant more trees which was cut in past we need garden city and not concrete or garbage city will keep us good health invest on good work not painting the road side

  2. A waste vacant land in Naganathapura is a open air dust bin. Walking along road to Rayasandra is so dangerous because animal waste is dumped in this land. Corona virus may start here.

  3. Dear BBMP Bangalore need more and more kaveri water summer is coming please invest 100 crores for water roads and garbage

    • Nothing will beautify those ugly circles. As everyone says build park’s plant trees. Help the nature help humans. Greenery beautifies a city not concrete structures

  4. Leave beautification . Let the city’s garbage be cleared on a daily basis. It has been very long since Bangalore has become Garbage city from Garden City.

    • The present city authority at various level are sleeping. Before wasting this 100 crore for a while,it’s better to push the fly over and metro to go fast to complete work on day night basis as other IT’ s people are working through out 24×7. Ask your heavy vehicle to road in night basis. Secondly the corporation work on road sweeping must be completed before Dawn for better result in wake of city cleanimess. These are major observation could seen on city structural fact…one responsible authority capacity must look these serious agendas to look forward ahead…
      .

  5. I love Bangalore 10years back as Garden City…but now every where it has polluted with dust, traffic and no proper roads…Please help us to grow in good environment and protect us from pollution. Thx

    • Can u tell me how? People have sold out the lands to concretes from trees! Population has increased, vehicles have increased!!

  6. As in other countries beneath Metro track why don’t you convert into green by planting creepers , flowering plants. Join hands with BMRCL and execute. Hyderabad because of such greenery is looking exceptionally cute.

  7. Beautification! That should be the last thing on the list. Corruption is taking over this city and its crying for help. Once green and lush Bangalore is now destroyed at the hands of greedy and corrupt politicians. Trees cut down, tech parks built over lakes, illegal constructions shooting up, the entire Andhra water mafia and illegal PGs. People need to rise up and protest because this level of corruption is obscene and shameless. People cannot cross roads, traffic signals cause hours of delay, please address real issues first.

  8. It’s because State govt took over 12 road works from BBMP. Now they need something to dip their dirty hands and lick

  9. Beautification is secondary. At primary level atleast implement some measures to keep Bengluru clean . On every second corner of road the clutter and garbage is seen. Lakes are contaminated with drainage. Request to BBMP kindly take some drastic steps to have a cleaner city .

  10. What’s use of the beautification when we don’t have a proper road to walk and footpaths to Ride. Such a great traffic to rejoice and potholes to enjoy a bumpy Ride. Unplanned Digs without being thoughtful about inconveniences caused to the daily commuters. Dreaming about beautification brings up the ugliest face during the rainy season.. Look at the silk board signal and Madiwala streach, they cry out loud to be under tremendous traffic.
    Lot more to add but much Ado about nothing…

  11. They are defining different ways to make money….. simple…..am still waiting for road infornt of my house to be relaid which was dug a year back to lay pipelines….that not addressed, they want to beautiful the city…..God save ua

  12. Loved the last sentence– But changing your curtains won’t help if your roof is leaking.
    They just dont care and go on wasting our money on projects which dont need thinking about.

  13. The whole idea of beautification is stupid and illogical. The only way to beautify bangalore is planting more hardwood, deeprooted trees with thick canopy. The vanamahotsava trees planted on footpaths are useless and have become a danger to the public.

  14. We don’t need beautification. We need garbage-free and neat city with lesser traffic congestion. That is all we citizens of this city need.

  15. The people sitting in BBMP should have a bit commonsense that which has more urgent and prioritized works needs to do. The traffic is increasing hell lot, wherein damaged roads, unrepaired footpaths and improper signal lights taking life of the citizens who are the one who paying from their income. Whichever the government comes, except worried about their political meetings and party seminars, no one bothered to improve road widening and making flyover to streamline traffic. The live example, the traffic from Tin factory to Indiranagar and other roots are hell. BBMP have dates for collection of so many taxes,but not worried for even basic developments. In stead KFC wasting public money for beautification, let BBMP think seriously about basic most important developments first”

  16. Dear Sir.. It is well thought Article. Bangalore is lacking the minimum facilities.. It’s been more than a year that authorities have dug up the Babusapalya road and still work is going on.. every where the pile of dust and excavations are visible.. it is such a nightmare that every moment I regret about the callousness of administrators.. I also regret on what fateful day I landed I Bangalore, a filthy disgusting Garbage city.. It is very shameful to stay in such a disgusting locality like Babusapalya and Agara road.. please do visit sometime and you will be rewarded with the thick dust coming out from the renovation work going on and on since ages.. shame on you..

  17. Beautification is required in each and every part of the city.
    Each and every corner can be beautified by spending just few lakhs.
    As my friend says as above miyawaki forest is the best bet.
    We can grow nice tall trees and fruit trees where by people can get good air and nice parks to breathe pure oxigen.

  18. Dear BBMP. Please check the basic sanitation first, later we can do the beautification. I stay at Basaveswara Nagar area. People throw dead rats over the roads. I hope you are aware that dead rats are the carriers of Rota virus. No cleaning and sanitation. Now we are thinking about corona virus, but people will get effected surely due to rota virus. I guess similar issue there in other areas also

  19. It is the process stupid! How many times, as ordinary citizens, we are scurrying with our feedback, which the government, BBMP etc.have no interest in. Why are such projects foisted on the city? What is the internal process, before such ideas are announced? Did we hear that 100 crores have been allocated fir beautification projects? The article provides instances of previous projects that have made minimal or no impact. Without continuity, such projects don’t deliver long term benefits.

    • Please first remove 95 percent of the speedbreakers and rework on the protuding man holes .

  20. Our gaurdians( oh so we think) have no idea what to do.In a one year term our Mayor has no time to plan anything.Last year our group of Bengalore Eco group met the then Mayor Gambika and gave her a plan to help Benaluru get a better rating in Servashekshan.We would meet her regularly as we knew we had very little time.She tried her best( giving her some credit) but she wasn’t in a position to convince the higherups of Bbmp and councillors.So you see in 1yr!!She ran out of time and office. So what does our Mayor do ?? All eyelash.and coffers are left more empty!!If there is a word for it?

Comments are closed.