Drive against commercial establishments fizzles out, riles citizens

The BBMP had issued notices to 8,493 commercial establishments

Residents of many parts of the city continue to raise their voice against rampant and illegal commercialisation, alleging that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) drive to check it has fizzled out, mainly due to lack of intra-departmental and inter-departmental coordination.

Earlier this year, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, who is also Bengaluru Development Minister, had directed the BBMP to shut down all illegal shops in residential areas operating without a valid trade licence issued by the civic body.

However, after an initial spurt of action with shutting down of some commercial establishments and issuing notices to a few, the drive has fizzled out, admit BBMP's officials.

According to information provided by the BBMP, the civic body has issued notices to as many as 8,493 commercial establishments in residential areas and businesses set up in basements that are ought to be used for parking purposes. However, these notices were issued over a period of one year (January 2018 to January 2019). Just around 200 have been shut down.

Residents are now complaining about the civic body's lack of enforcement. Sneha Nandihal from I Change Indiranagar recently sought information about action taken by the BBMP against a few commercial establishments in Indiranagar 1st Stage. In response to her RTI query, the jurisdictional Assistant Executive Engineer responded: “The information asked by you is not clear. Please clearly mention what action taken report is required against commercial establishments in residential areas”.

Ms. Nandihal charged that this response was unbecoming of a BBMP official. “Several rounds of meetings have been held and letters have been sent. Though BBMP officials are well aware of the problem, there is a deliberate attempt to not do anything about the same,” she said and alleged that a majority of commercial establishments in Indiranagar do not have a valid trade licence.

A senior BBMP official, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that ideally, the local engineer should keep a watch over commercial buildings coming up in residential areas and coordinate with his/her counterpart in the health department, responsible for issuing trade licences. “However, this is not happening. That apart, the BBMP should also be urging the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) to not provide water and power connections to commercial establishments that have come up in residential areas without a clearance from the BBMP,” the official added.

With the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, it is unclear if the drive against illegal commercial establishments in residential areas will be taken up again.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:07:57 AM |

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