The Tannery Road that we are familiar with today is a winding arterial thoroughfare 4 kilometres long and very narrow; the surrounding neighbourhood grew up with the Slaughter House and the Tanneries that began a century ago.
Minority migrant workers from Venur, Madurai, Tirunelveli and innumerable other places have settled here many decades ago, to work at the tanneries and related industries.
Today Kadugondanahalli, Shampura, Venkateshpura and the neighbouring DJ Halli have grown from hamlets to crowded localities and commercial hubs with below par civic facilities.
With tight domestic budgets of the major BPL populace, education is sacrificed for basic vocational skills.
With the present reduction of tanneries in K G Halli and curing units in Shampura, the locals have had to look at other areas and options for work.
For this to materialise, proper communication infrastructure, economical mass transport, education, varied vocational training and minimum basic amenities are most necessary. Many political parties have set up their offices here and taken up the cudgels of these minorities, but with limited success.
The scene on the road is dismal. Buses, small trucks, cars, innumerable two-wheelers and autos apart from cycles compete for space on the narrow stretch.
The aging civic infrastructure here is not able to cope up with the rapid pace of population now reaching around four lakhs and the resultant growth of shops (3000 at the last count) and innumerable vehicles on the road.
Eateries, bakeries, hardware, used ware, rental and repair shops and shops selling spices & provisions have mushroomed all over and their wares and businesses clutter the roads. The frequent closing of the Railway crossing after Kadugondanahalli adds to the woes of the already harried commuter.
Parking is almost non-existent. Minor accidents which is the daily norm, is ignored by both the parties involved and they just carry on as if nothing happened. Ambulances and Fire tenders have to literally crawl through, with the victims having little hope of life.
Unbridled growth is therefore a hurdle to any systematic development of the Main Roads and the adjacent areas.
On the developmental front, while a significant number of shop building owners are ready for widening of the road (24 metres), subject to fixing of a just Transfer of Developmental Rights (TDR) formula, the shop tenants are wary that demolition and widening will affect their livelihood.
The shop tenants should realise that their resistance is affecting the lives of four lakh people in the neighbourhood who aspire with bated breath for better infrastructure and standard of living and therefore lobby with those concerned, for alternate relocation in commercial complexes on government land in the same vicinity and be part of the solution.
This clash of interest has prompted BBMP to stop the road widening work that began in 2009 and positive developments have come to a grinding halt.
Improvements like widening of Tannery and Shampura Main Roads, early construction of ROBs over the Railway line at Kadugondanahalli, modernisation and upgradation of the slaughterhouse, smooth implementation of the Metro Rail from Gottigere to Nagavara and the construction of linking Bus Terminus for intermodal transfer, are some of the urgently required works to be taken up, and would lead to a definite upward movement of real estate prices in the area.
Better communication infrastructure combined with education facilities and right vocational skills will lead to better employment opportunities. Metro Rail and urban road planners have future visions of connecting Nagavara to the International Airport shortly.
Bengaluru Eshanya Mahavedike (BEM), comprising of 28 Resident Welfare Associations in Bangalore North East, after taking into consideration of the larger picture of development here involving more than four lakhs of people, has spearheaded the area improvement movement since last six months.
BEM has received resolutions for improvement (as planned by civic and infrastructure agencies) from representatives of Corporators and resident welfare associations operating in the area.
It is now necessary for the locals to take ‘ownership’ of the movement. Political and Official will is equally important to start the ball rolling towards development.
Therefore all stakeholders should stand up together for improvement of Tannery Road area.
The author is the general secretary of Bengaluru Eshanya Mahavedikeh