Basavanagudi in south Bangalore used to be a serene and well-planned residential layout that was home to a large number of educated people. But the gradual commercialisation of the area in the last few years has seen residential properties turned into business establishments, adding to the pressure on the civic infrastructure.
For instance, it is not just DVG Road that has become a bustling commercial hub. Even houses in the surrounding lanes and bylanes are making way for commercial establishments.
Traffic chaos has become the order of the day in and around DVG Road. And parking space, finding which is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, comes at a premium. Some residents like Rajalakshmi, a lecturer in a private college, who have retained their houses in the area, complain about haphazardly parked four-wheelers blocking the entrances to their residences and the incessant honking.
The demand for commercial space has sparked competition among landlords to renovate their premises for renting them as shops and business establishments. Somashekhar, a retired employee from Bull Temple Road, said the construction work has added to the pollution. “Pollution as well as traffic forces us to remain at home. The construction work is not due to development work taken up by the government, but private construction taken up by people to rent out their buildings for commercial purposes”, he said. Pointing to the road leading to Shamanna Park, where he often goes for evening walk, he said the thoroughfare has been dug up at least ten times at the behest of house-owners in the last few months for various utilities like water, electricity and telephone cables.
The constituency, which had earlier elected personalities like Ramakrishna Hegde and T.R. Shamanna, also boasts of historical landmarks like Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple, Ramakrishna Math and Bugle Rock Park. The National College Grounds, which is preferred by many national leaders to make public addresses, is also located in the constituency.
In the May 5 elections to the Assembly, sitting MLA Ravi Subramanya of the BJP is locked in a direct contest with the former Minister B.K. Chandrashekar, the Congress candidate. The constituency, whose voters are predominantly upper caste, had elected Congress candidate K. Chandrashekar in 2004. But, he lost to Ravi Subramanya.
Mr. Subramanya was not found accessible to the voters during the last five years. “Basavanagudi virtually did not have an MLA in the last five years”, said Mr. Rajashekar, citing the absence of Mr. Subramanya.
“We could see him only recently when he started his campaign,” he added. The recent decision by the Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) expressing support to Prof Chandrashekar and Loksatta candidate Shantala Dhamle against the sitting MLA shows his credibility, Rajeshwari, a lecturer in a city-based college, said.
Refuting the allegations, Mr. Subramanya said: “I am dedicating 16 hours every day for public works neglecting my personal business.” However, there are a few wards in my constituency where I do not want to interfere as the local councillors are taking care of the needs of the people. That is why I do not visit a few wards,” he said.
Reacting to the rapid commercialisation of the area, he said residential areas will not be allowed for commercial activities. The footpath encroachments and road widening works in the area will be his priority, he said.