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.

12 Comments

  1. Beautification should be done by clearing the garbage on the roads. Planting trees. Creating many more parks. But BBMP cannot do it unless people of our city change their ways. We see them throw garbage at street corners even after the corners have been cleaned and “beautified” by BBMP. We see people spitting rampantly even these days increasing the risk of infection. We see people driving vehicles spewing toxic smoke. Unless we find a way to stop the causes, no beautification is possible.

  2. Check the roads at Rammurty nagar and other areas in city very worst devt by BBMP and mla at Rammurty nagar.
    Forest or village’s are better if compare to Bangalore devt by bbmp

  3. Beutification ? It should be done in part of city visualising the need of citizens . BBMPSahaay app was launched to solve the grievances of public but in vain. Conmplaint no 10917610 could not be resolved inspite of repeated requested
    Again the same complaint was registered on Namma Benguluru app vide complaint no.20008060 which was escalated to CE and Joint Commissioner but still hanging in balance. Construction of damaged road as pointed out in above complaint ,is also a part of beautification .What more can be expected more

  4. with ugliest metro destroying beauty of city…. what an irony about “beautification”. if you want beauti then make metro underground everywhere. it will decongest city and also beautify bangalore, also, cost will be lower if bigger contracts are awarded. mentioning this because underground is not awarded citing cost… with smaller contract higher cost becomes self fulfilling prophecy

  5. Dear BBMP,

    Please have a visit from Hormavu to Banjara Layout road, people of this area may get serious health issues if it goes like this., there were proper roads to these areas and after BBMP dug all the roads this is also one among that. after dugged nobody has taken initiative to repair the roads. Day by Day area is getting polutted more and more. I request you to see these kind of issues rather than modifying face of bangalore. People are facing water and garbade dumping problems in the city please do a proper garbage disposal forum.

  6. Same goes for Thanisandra Road. Whole roads digged, lots of dust comes on faces and eyes and traffic jam. I feel tired whenever I drive on Thanisandra. Also on road side something smell very badly near flyover as there are meat waist. Do something BBMP

  7. Every day we are travelling on potholes with road seen in between..except the ORR all the internal roads are in a pathetic shape leading to slow moving traffic…road quality should be improved and foot paths are missing which is a pity, there is no safty for pedestrians…this city needs mandatory infrastructure than beautification….

  8. Dear Commissioner Sir,
    Please provide us the basic essentials like proper road with walking space first, before thinking of beautifying Bangalore. Whenever we ask our Corporator and MLA they say budget restrictions for providing proper road which is a basic expectation from us, but you are talking about spending 100 crores for beautification. First please visit our road ( Croma Road, Kadubeesanahalli), we are all living in a dusty condition with many people are affected with Ashthma. Our MLA, Mahadevapura DC all visited but no action till date. Infact every day the condition is deteriorating. Our sincere request with folded hands to you, please visit such areas and try to improve the living condition of people before thinking of beautifying Bangalore.
    Thank you.

  9. Remembering Bangalore as I used to know it, I have come to live in Bengaluru. And what a disappointment !! Instead of reaching for the stars, if only BBMP and whatever other civic authorities
    realised that the ground needs to be cleared and cleaned first, or the stars will land in the muck. I’m praying the powers that be will see the light very soon. But how? And who will lead the way? Some smart person hopefully.

  10. You hit the nail on the head. This is one more plan to destroy the already destroyed Bangalore.

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