It Was Not an Entirely Smooth Ride on First Sunday of Open Streets

The one-day vehicular ban in HSR Layout as part of the ‘Open Streets Bengaluru’ initiative by various government departments evoked mixed response.

Published: 21st September 2015 03:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2015 03:13 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: The one-day vehicular ban from 6 am to 9 pm in HSR Layout as part of the ‘Open Streets Bengaluru’ initiative by various government departments on Sunday evoked mixed response.

Though many residents feel the move was for the good and should be a regular feature, it also evoked criticism from some quarters. As a result of the ban, commuters, especially those who do not reside in HSR Layout, were not able to enter the area as police asked them to move away. Some, unaware of the ban, had travelled from far-flung places. So they had no option but to walk to their destination.

The elderly and the sick too were not allowed to enter with vehicles by police personnel stationed at entrances to the Layout. Utter chaos prevailed at all the entrances. A few got into heated arguments with the police. “This is just plain ridiculous. There has to be vested interests behind this ban. They (police) said there were buses travelling within  the Layout to ferry people. However, since we were new to the place, we didn’t even know which bus to get into,” said Sridhar Guruswamy, a resident of  Jayanagar.

Gunjan, a resident of the HSR Layout Sector-3, said there was absolutely no need for the ban. “I had to visit a friend in Sector-7.  I had to change three buses to travel this distance,” he said.

Those who were travelling to HSR Layout from the airport and other places also suffered. Many were seen lugging their baggage from the entry points to their destinations. “The move is idiotic. If they really wanted to make a difference to the pollution levels, then let them implement car-pooling,” said John Matthew.

Speaking to Express, Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) M A Saleem said, “It is imperative that people start using public transport. At the rate at which the number of vehicles in the city is growing, soon, there won’t be a place to move. “A similar ban planned next Sunday will not happen. We are also in the process of identifying compact areas where the ban can be enforced,” he said.

Copspeak

A constable told Express they were being made to look bad by sections of the media. “We are just following our orders. Some of us reached HSR Layout as early as 4 am on Sunday. When we are just doing our duty, it is wrong for us to be painted guilty,” he said.

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