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

beautifying traffic junctions

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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.

About Manasi Paresh Kumar 106 Articles
Manasi Paresh Kumar is Engagement Editor for Bengaluru Citizen Matters.

25 Comments

  1. Rightly illustrated. BBMP should know what are Bangalore’s immediate requirements – a proper drivable road not the art work which no one will see while jumping around.

  2. BBMP this is a spring season and trees are filled with brown dust..no view of greenery at all in Bengalure and look at the trees around Nagawara, Hennur, thanisandra, hegde nagar, horamavu, road to Airport from thanisandra and hennur and many parts of north bangalore…. and also other parts of bangalore … filled with dust…please realise your (BBMP) performance is no where where near to satisfactory feedback. Hope to see some good change.

  3. I see a parallel. A wall was built and beautified during US President’s visit to Ahmedabad to hide the ‘real beauty’ of the city. We are doing the same, ignoring the real problems of garbage, roads, denuded vegetation cover etc. The ruling party is also the same. Hide, ignore, refuse to recognise the real issues.

  4. 1.Removal of waste /Garbage from all around Banglore and strong penalties on defaulted for non compliance will be a better beginning for Banglore Beautification ,rather than focussing only on just 35 junctions.
    Other points to focud
    2.Cleaning up storm water drain and waste water drain .
    3.Fixing up of potholes.
    4.Removsl of hanging cables (a death trap)
    5. Routing the rain water from Metro tracks to under ground ( so called rain harnessing ) to improve water tablecondition.
    6. Lake development and preservation.
    In short focus on improving HABITAT
    This is for REAL. We are here to support you fully on Habitat improvement.

  5. It’s important to address trafic in Bangalore.
    Setting aside budget for easing the congestion in co ordination with RTO would definitely attract more and more concrete investment from MNCs which would probably help develop infrastructure.
    As we are into digital Era, instead of checking online for the traffic offences and issue bills, we still observe RTO personal take a ample busy area in and around the trafic junctions to check for the offences manually choke trafic movement.

  6. Peoples Money can’t be wasted for such project with out proper analysis. A 3rd party committe to be formed with having such back ground to spear head such projects.

    Let’s not burn our hands with such a huge money of 100 crores.

  7. Sir, one of my friend(father of 2 children)got leg broken because of bad footpath he is bed ritten from past three month.

  8. BBMP needs to focus on issues which citizens face on daily basis – Sanitization , cleanness , traffic congestion, narrow roads, illegal construction, corruption , strengthen of law and order , crub on illegal mafia like water, waste disposal. I being a citizen of Bengaluru feel threatened with crime incidents happening in broad day light and law makers are simply passing torch to citizens to be careful and not having proper checks and control. No fear to people with criminal minds . Everything is interrelated. Implementation needs to be strengthen with harsh punishment for people not following it.

  9. I stay in jayanagar where all the footpaths are ripped open since January and left as it is, no place to walk and forced to walk on the roads.
    The BBMP has corrupted to the core.
    The footpaths which had white topping were removed and laid with old granite slabs removed from somewhere else, but where as, the tar roads are being done by white topping.
    When complained to the contractor why the delay, he says they have not been paid as there is no funds to complete.
    Then why in the first place did they start the work?

  10. This is called white corruption.! India is full of it and esp Bangalore. Make road, dig up to lay pipes, make road again, dig up again and so on.

    Just look at any projects… no work getting done doesn’t mean no money being paid.! Billing is always on. Work is deliberately stalled so as to pocket constant billing. That is called white corruption. Everything is black here but you cannot challenge it in court. Another major example is “oh I missed escalators” for metro.! Always there. Each such “oh we missed” costs hundreds of crores to thousands…..

    Development lobby is big white black elephant in the room. The root of corruption is public work.!

  11. Let BBMP address the garbage and cleaning of the streets on priority. In prominent places like Indira Nagar garbage is not collected regularly and streets are not cleaned regularly. Once a beautiful Indira Nagar has become a third rate township with broken infrastructure, lack of cleanliness. Please take a walk on CMH Road, 100 Feet Road, Double Road and you will realise how difficult it is to even walk with broken pavements, undulated pavements, cars and scooters parked on the pavements etc BBMP is either blind or do not care to first take care of these issues before spending more money on this proposed beautification. Perhaps BBMP has its mouth where there is possibility of spending big money.

  12. Beautification, with greenary under each elevated roads and below metro train route, if handed over to corporate sector, IT companies and interested individuals who can maintain certain stretches, provided their logo and lighting advisement sign board are permitted by authorities.

  13. I live in Europe coming to Bangalore for business trips. I agree that the so called beautification idea is totally insane given the fact that there’s total chaos and dirt absolutely everywhere in the city.

    Whoever came up with it is either an egomaniac or there’s a clear hidden business interest.

  14. Beautification!First clear garbage problem of our city and air pollution.Widen roads that will help to ease traffic,find problem for water scarcity during summer,clear Bellandur lake from froth and,stop felling of trees,make the city roads potholes free,make public transport efficient and commuter friendly,improve standard of education in govt schools and make police force public friendly.And then
    Think of beautifying NAMMA BENGALURU!

  15. Loved your way you showed the mirror to the concerned authorities …. They can’t see the problems faced by the residents of Bangalore one of the major problems is the roads which they have dug up two years back and forgot that they need to build it back which will ease the traffic to a great extent and also a cause of pain for the common public.

  16. BBMPannss have you seen the garbage in balepet area in heart of majestic?
    Visit the cross roads n see the dump of garbage that are not cleared, see the difficulty ppl are facing bcoz of these which is leading to ppl ending up in hospital…have the officers even bother of how are ppl livit that too in the heart of the city…will you tolerate these menaces in front of your living areas?
    No action taken inspite of several complaints…..start working before ppl take you to roads…

  17. It’s not very important to beautify the junctions
    The importance is to manage the garbage all over, the entire city is dusty, all the roads are are with potholes, most important is skywalks
    It can reduce a little bit of traffic
    Ask me I will give the right solution to reduce the traffic in city because I drive around 200km every day in the city from morning to late night.

  18. Can You’ll first address issues like waste management in the city??and then think of all this..

  19. Clean the water that enters the sewage, no dies, no chemicals. Prioritize on electric mobility with charging stations, electric buses.
    Ban plastic from large scale manufacturers as packing in next 5 years. Bio degradation toiletries to maintain sewage from being toxic.

    No **** covering paint work, to fill some pockets

    [Editor: This comment has been edited to suit our comments policy.]

  20. I think the biggest menace in Bengaluru city is garbage on the road sides and in all the streets. Also everytime i see someone urinating on the road side i pity on the this country thinking of becoming space giants. So much superficial attitude towards human life.

  21. Spent all Rs 100cr actually, hope you understand what I mean to convey.

    We required very basic Amenities like foothpath, poothole and patch free road, Daily garbage collection, Good bus shelter, good road signs, working street lights, clean drains …. Spend 100 cr actually on this. City will automatically become beautiful.

  22. If only garbage is cleared regularly, illegal constructions are stopped, trees are
    not cut in the name of development, illegal underground boring for water by the water mafia stopped and haphazard parking of vehicles controlled, Bangalore will need no beautification.

  23. Ohhhh please.. think again BBMP.. lets go step by step. Lets first have roads without potholes. Find and implement ways to reduce traffic. Fix the drinking water crisis. Maintain cleanliness. These are the works in progress (damn slow and never ending) since the time I was born here. Lets complete this.

  24. From garbage, BBMP team can not pocket that much of money which they will make from so called beautification word. In BBMP, entire officials think only on ( How to make money for their family apart from salary). Everybody in BBMP is corrupt. Only God can save the citizens of Bangalore. White toppings are the money spinning for BBMP– the effect will be flooding during rains and high temperature — who bothers– BBMP officials have A/c in their houses and sufficient money to pay for bills.

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