Kumaraswamy Layout and surrounding areas may be beautiful, but residents crave the bustle and commercial activity of the rest of the city
All over Bangalore, residents love to complain that their beloved city is getting overcrowded and traffic-ridden, while losing its beautiful green cover and footpaths to widened roads.
This is particularly true of south Bangalore. But, just outside the old peripheries of this area, residents bemoan the emptiness of their locality. They seek the bustling crowds and traffic; they crave the bittersweet smell of commercial advancement, of the malls and wider roads, even if it means inhaling the smoke.
Who needs nostalgia
Kumaraswamy Layout and its offshoots such as Padmanabhanagar, Vasanthapura and ISRO Layout, just outside the borders of Banashankari, are those rare neighbourhoods that shun the nostalgia and wait for the development bug that hit the rest of the city to creep in.
Not long ago, these areas were the last bastions of old Bangalore, holding out against the rapid growth in population and vehicular traffic that was transforming adjacent areas such as J.P. Nagar and Bannerghatta Road. Perhaps it was the very presence of such neighbourhoods so close, or the ‘hep' student crowd they saw coming to the Dayananda Sagar institutions in their locality, that made the grass seem greener elsewhere for the residents.
Or it could simply be the need for basic civic facilities such as water and electricity. Says Madhu Devineni, a resident of Vasanthapura, “When I first moved in here in 2008, there weren't even streetlights. Now, we have those at least. If more people move into this neighbourhood and it becomes populated enough to matter, the corporation may then have to provide us water too.” For now, they just buy water from a truck that rolls in daily.
Anney Gowda, resident of ISRO Layout, has a slightly different problem. The layout was established 20 years ago to house ISRO employees. “Irrespective of their cadre, most of them have access to either private transport or government-provided vehicles. So, public transport has not properly covered this area.”
‘Waste' of space?
He certifies the locality one of the best planned and most beautiful in the city — it has wide footpaths and plenty of parks. “But, what is the use of all that without access to facilities and commercial activity?”
“All access roads to the area are narrow; there are so many plots that people have bought as an investment, but have not built on. Those and even the parks are a waste of space really, in a world of skyrocketing rents.”
He wishes the roads would become more congested, just so they would be widened, more buses to come in, and shops sprouting here and there.