Raja Marga continues to be city’s eyesore

Thanks to encroachments of footpaths, Raja Marga becomes another conservancy lane

Mysuru:  It was with great fanfare that the famous Dasara procession route, Sayyaji Rao Road, was given the moniker ‘Raja Marga.’ It is almost ten years now and nothing seems to have gone right with this ambitious project of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC). But who is to bell the cat to solve the problems?

The first thing that attracts the people when they come to Mysuru is the wide roads designed by the visionary rulers. Sayyaji Rao Road is one of them which has its own significance. Realising this, the MCC no doubt decided to develop this road as ‘Raja Marga’ (Royal Path). Sadly, however, it has remained an eyesore from the time it has been conceived and there is nothing ‘royal’ about it.

The Raja Marga commences from Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Circle (Hardinge Circle) and ends at Bannimantap. With lakhs of tourists, both domestic and foreign visiting the city every year, the authorities planned to convert the entire path on which Dasara procession passes through, into a ‘Raja Marga’ also called Rajapatha.

From the beginning, due to one problem or the other, the work was delayed. After nearly six or seven years, most of the work was completed. However, within a few months, a few of the balustrades on the footpaths fell like a pack of cards either due to substandard works or due to destruction by the public.

The MCC had no choice but just to collect the rubble of the balustrades since it does not have funds to repair them again as it costs lakhs of rupees. Hence, this work has come to a standstill.

The works on the Raja Marga commenced in 2011 out of the Chief Minister’s special grant for Mysuru, out of which Rs.16 crore was granted for the first phase of ‘Raja Marga’ works. Chhabria Associates, which secured the tender for the Raja Marga works, began executing the project in 2011.

The Raja Marga’s footpaths were done up really well. However, more than it being used by the pedestrians, it has now become home for footpath vendors. Here, many varieties of products are sold. A few of the shopkeepers are also keeping their wares on the footpath.

This has become a place for tyre puncture fixing specialists, auto consultants’ parking space and a few mechanics have also made it their own working place. As a result, the pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads.

Added to all this, is the total traffic chaos which makes life hell for anyone who dares come here for some work. In short, the Raja Marga has transformed itself into some small ‘Galli’ (conservancy or by-lane).

Vehicles galore: The parking right from K.R. Circle to Highway Circle is in total disarray. The Police have provided space for two-wheeler parking on the sides of the road. But instead of parking the vehicles in a line, many park them haphazardly.

The autorickshaws and other vehicles are also parked there. Many park the vehicles randomly and go to shops or inside the market. This results in problems for smooth flow of traffic. Also, the pedestrians, fearing for their lives, have to move in between the vehicles.

Vehicles are being parked indiscriminately near Devaraja Market and K.R. Hospital. A few in the four-wheelers, fearing the Police, usually have their drivers at the wheel and go leisurely for shopping. When the Police arrive, the drivers drive a little distance and once the Police Patrol vehicle moves, they return to their place. This also causes a lot of problems for other vehicles.

The whole road looks like an accident-waiting-to-happen zone. One hopes that the authorities will not wait for a major calamity to occur to wake up to the reality.

Need to file cases

The haphazard parking on Sayyaji Rao Road has come to my notice also. I have been asking my officers to announce on the mike and cleared many vehicles. Those who park the vehicles, on seeing the Police, immediately move. So, there is a need for filing cases against such violators. More Police will be deployed and traffic flow smoothened.

— G.N. Mohan ACP, City Traffic Police

Beautiful concrete medians

Traffic control is the responsibility of the Police and if they require barricades and medians, the MCC can provide them. If the footpaths have been encroached, then it can be vacated. If there are complaints from the public then action can be taken. Because of Dasara, the barricades had been removed from K.R. Circle to Ayurveda Circle. Now, beautiful concrete medians will be put in its place.

—K.H. Jagadeesha Commissioner, MCC

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