Dream stretch on Church Street to open today

Bengaluru: Shanthinagar MLA N.A. Haris will finally have something to smile about on Thursday when a 750 metre stretch on Church Street that has been completely re-designed under his guidance, with specially crafted cobblestones and street-lights, to showcase a pedestrian-friendly High Street in the heart of the city will be thrown open by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Despite overshooting the deadline by four months, the road that connects Brigade Road to St Marks Road will go a long way in silencing critics that Chief Minisrter Siddaramaiah's government has neglected the city's crumbling infrastructure.

BBMP Chief Engineer (major roads) K.T. Nagaraj told Deccan Chronicle, “The road will have modern amenities like decorative LED street lights. Instead of white-topping, we have used granite cobblestones.” The 450-metre long stretch from Brigade road to Rest House road on Church Street was opened on January 1. The road has been laid using the cobblestone blocks and quality footpaths to make it pedestrian friendly. “We have allocated separate parking space, which can accommodate 60 two-wheelers and 40 four-wheelers, including a dedicated parking slot for women motorists,” Nagaraj added.

More business for traders
Mohammad Ali, Manager, Hotel Empire said, “During the construction the road was almost closed to traffic, but we still had a lot of walk in customers. So it did not affect the business much. Now this new road will add a value to our business, because it has been laid in a very decorative manner.”
Another food shop owner, Vaquas Ahmed of Desi Vdesi said, “Earlier there was no parking space, but now that there is dedicated one, I think the footfall will increase, which will help our business.”

He also said while the construction was on people had stopped coming to this area, which had affected our business to certain extent. “We used to request construction workers to stop for sometime during the lunch hours,” Ahmed said.

Narrow road
However, some feel BBMP has ‘wasted’ a lot of space on footpath, thereby narrowing down the road. “Only one vehicle can pass through at a time and the footpaths created are very wide. There is still a lot work pending, but they are already going ahead with the inauguration,” said Sagar, an advocate.

MLA’s contribution
Irfan Noor, Secretary of Church Street Occupants Association, said, “From the scratch MLA Haris has taken a special interest on this Church Street road and constantly inspected the work several times during the construction. He also made sure that the work is more productive and effective by visiting the work place and coordinating with all the agencies involved.” He also said that whenever we have any problem, the MLA would instantly come and help us.

Pending work
Commenting on the pending work, architect and urban expert Naresh Narasimhan said, “There is very little work pending and it’s nearing completion, so there is no question of rushing. The road has to be inaugurated soon and made it open for public.”

Removal of overhead wires upsets many
Even as the Bengalureans cheer to see Church Street buzzing back to life after nearly two years, many nearby residents and traders are unhappy.

The reason: In an attempt to ensure aesthetics of the iconic street during its inauguration, the BBMP has removed all the dangling overhead cables. The wires that were crawling on the roads too have been loaded in trucks and sent off to make the occasion a pleasant one.

However, this has resulted in scores of companies and residences located nearby being deprived of telephone and internet connections and they are upset with BBMP’s move.

Monisha Chetan, an employee of a private firm said that they would have to work without telephone and internet connection, which makes them handicapped. Most of the work gets held up without internet. Sadly, it is said that it would take three days to restore the services.

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