Walk down Bannerghatta Road

I was going to IIM Bangalore to meet someone, and decided to see what it was like to walk down a stretch of just over 2.5 km…..

Walking down to one of the premeier educational institutions in India is, to put it mildly, a major hurdle. Almost nowhere did I find a proper pavement, and there were all sorts of obstacles ….

walk on B G Road 1

The “pavement” (how can one call it a pavement when it is not paved?) was not so much full of potholes as just plain holes….

pipes and broken tiles

Pipes, broken tiles, all sorts of debris was in evidence.

Even places meant for the planting of saplings had accumulated trash:

round hole meant for planting a sapling

At some places, there was no covering for the gutter, which was full of trash. Surprisingly, with no special area earmarked for it, a sapling is struggling and surviving…

gutter and trash

We need not blame the BBMP for everything. At several places, pushcarts and parked two-wheelers blocked progress:

parking for 2wheelers

One can see just how difficult it is to stay on the footpath. Those sandals had me wondering…did the owner disappear down the drain?

do these slippers belong to someone who disappeared down the drain?

As I approached the wall of IIM, I found the pavement unusable, with blockages, and garbage being burnt:

wall of IIM B

And in spite of the yearly flooding and promises to clear out the storm water drains, this is the reality…

plastic trash in the storm water drain

And the beautiful, green, pristine walkway below? It was hardly a few feet away, but on the other side of the wall, in the IIM campus…

scene on the other side of the IIMB wall

At the gate to the Bannerghatta Road Post Office, I had just gone into the campus, and it was as if I had entered another, and cleaner, world. If we can keep semi-private spaces clean, can’t we do the same to our public spaces as well? It is only a matter to taking pride in our surroundings and considering them our own, instead of “it’s not mine”….

7 Comments so far

  1. Ashwin (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

    Hi Deepa,
    One of things that has stopped happening is ppl clearing the drains in front of their houses. You will always find ppl who are willing to do it for a small sum of Rs 10. We still do it in front of ours and our neighbours do the same. So in spite of BBMP having never done any maintenance in our area, it never floods. I wonder if IIM undertook this exercise and several other large apt complexes did the same, you would not have the flooding problem. Pavements is another thing altogether :-)

  2. Job (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 4:06 pm


    That 10Rs is already spent by the govt as salaries to the various staff. Why should the citizens spend again?

    Actually, “maintenance” ought to be outsourced to private agencies, for better results.

  3. Radman (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

    Every picture I see of bangalore and chennai. Two things stand out for me. 1. There never seems to be a stretch of clean finished sidewalk. Where can pedestrians walk without fear of motor vehicles? 2. I see trash everywhere. Where are the trash bins?

  4. George E Matthew (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

    Job, you are right that we already pay taxes but sadly do not seem to get our drains cleaned.

    About the part about outsourcing to a private agency-that is already happening. There are already contracts in place for drain cleaning-it is not supposed to be done directly by govt employees. Of course, corruption in awarding contracts leads to non clearance of drains. For municpal works, privatisation by itself is NOT the way to go-every time you drive over a pothole, or trip over a bumpy pavement-remember, that is an example of a dishonest contractor(of course, in connivance with a dishonest BBMP corporator/official).

    what is the solution?
    1)On a small scale, residents doing work themselves, as Ashwin mentions. But as you say, we have ALREADY paid our taxes and realy should not have too spend large amounts out of pocket.

    2)The contract must be written in such a way so that the contractor is not responsible for just construction, but for upkeep and proper functioning for a given period, such as 1 year. His name/address/phone no should be displayed so that we can call him if things are not done right. This may improve accountability, especially large groups of people assemble outside his office demanding service. Nver forget the power of a crowd of citizens.

    3)On the other hand, try to get rid of contractors all-together. Make the sweeper/labourer a direct BBMP employee. Eliminate contractors all-together, reducing the scope of corruption. I do not know if permanent empolyees will work hard and if BBMP will be ablle to enforce discipline, but signs are positive. I am typing this on a 2Mbps broadband connection provided by the govt. All levels of staff dealing with it are govt employees. If I ahve any problem, I know from experience it will be sorted out in a day. This is a skilled technical job, NOT a simple job like clearing drains I also know that contractors have not been able to clear the drains outside by house for months.

  5. Pisipati Sriram (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 9:02 am

    Hi Deepa Mohan you have done a wonderful job like a crusader on civic issues. A picture speaks more eloquently than a two-hundred word piece. And that is precisely the snaps posted here show. At one go the pictures show the condition of sideways, storm water drains, encroachment of pavements etc in a telling manner. It is as much a reflection on the apathy of the authorities as the people.

    Though daily newspapers do cover civic issues the coverage often misses focus and touch the issues only peripherally due to limitations. Reporters, busy as they are with their important daily assignments, may not be having time for this kind of coverage which directly affects people.

    If only Hyderabad too had a blog facility like this, it would have been of immense help to highlight civic issues and to bring them to the notice of the authorities to make life that much livable.

    Good effort by Deepa Mohan

  6. anita (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 11:39 am

    @ deepa: nice pictorial and it only shows how the city’s roads and pavements are getting from bad to worse everyday. didn’t realise this stretch was so bad! and to think this is just about 2.5 kms. imagine if we did this in all localities – wouldn’t be a pretty sight at all. sometimes, there is no other way but to do it yourself as ashwin said he does. and rs 10 is a small price to pay, if this is possible. we can at least do something within our control since there’s absolutely nothing we can do about the BBMP!

  7. captainjohann (unregistered) on January 6th, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

    hi deepa,
    Great post. I am happy you didnot walk the road when about two years back it was declared the a worst road in india. What ever you may say as person who is seeing it for the last 7 years i consider it heaven now.

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