Residents of the Gayathri Devi Park Extension are a disgruntled lot. Ever since May 23, when the new Venkateshwara Temple began functioning at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) office located off the narrow Vyalikaval 16th Main Road, they have been facing several problems.
The residents find they cannot take their vehicles out, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, as the thoroughfare connecting Pipeline Road and Vyalikaval 16th Main Road is blocked by the TTD personnel to facilitate devotees going in for darshan at the temple. “We are forced to walk down all the way to 16th Main Road and catch an autorickshaw. I can manage, but my 70-year-old mother-in-law faces a lot of difficulty,” said a resident who has been residing in the area for nearly a decade.
Added to this, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has shifted the transformer that was earlier on 16th Main Road to Pipeline Road, much to the chagrin of the residents. “This transformer, located just at the entrance of Stella Maris School, hinders movement on the road. Also, it is dangerous for children who often play near the small fencing around the transformer,” said another resident.
“Many two-wheelers are parked all along the left side of the 16th Main Road,” said Bhaskar H.N., who stays right opposite the temple. “The irony is that the police have displayed a no-parking board along the pavement abutting the temple, forcing devotees to park their vehicles in front of our houses.”
The residents also have a grouse against the TTD authorities who are allowing devotees to form serpentine queues along the pavement for darshan. “Rather than using the space available on the temple premises, the authorities are making people stand in queue on the pavement. Many flower vendors and corn vendors have been allowed to do business on the pavements on either side,” said V. Govindaraj, another resident.
The absence of parking facilities at the TTD premises forces devotees to park their vehicles in all the lanes and bylanes of the Gayathri Devi Park extension. “The problem is acute when schoolchildren leave home. They have to walk a long distance, cross the busy 16th Main Road, to reach the buses or vehicles that take them to school,” said Srilatha Srinath. About 2,000 students study in Stella Maris School, Vyalikaval Education Society's School and Tirumala Vidyaniketana.
The residents said the problem in the area will aggravate when the TTD's kalyana mantapa starts functioning. “We have written several letters to the TTD, but there has been no reaction,” Mr. Govindaraj said.
According to P. Shyama Raju, president of the local advisory committee of the TTD, Bangalore, the problem has risen owing to the increase in the number of devotees. “We expected around 2,000 persons during the weekdays and 4,000 on the weekends. However, around 10,000 persons visit the temple on weekdays, while about 20,000 come on the weekends,” he said.
The delay in completion of the construction of the kalyana mantapa and the queue complex has compounded the problem.
“The basement of the kalyana mantapa provides parking for 110 cars. Once the construction is over in the next six months, we will move the queue inside and many of the problems faced by the residents will be solved,” Mr. Raju said.
He said the committee has decided to use the kalyana mantapa for holding programmes such as religious discourses and devotional music. “We will not be using it for holding marriages and thread ceremonies,” Mr. Raju emphasised.