BANGALORE: The blue board outside the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) complex in Vijayanagar gives you a very long list of the shops it houses. But, on going inside the complex and taking a walk around the shopping area on the premises, one finds shutters down in most of the shops except three to four shops used by the BDA for its official purpose. A ‘Bangalore One’ branch, a BESCOM (Bangalore Electricty Supply Company) office and a couple of private shops are the only ones functioning in this complex.
The private shops functioning within the complex includes an aquarium shop, a HP Gas agency, Nandini milk outlet, a hairdressing shop, a computer accessories shop and a few hardware stores. We found a heap of garbage near the back entrance of the complex. Though there were security guards near the main entrance, the other entrances of the huge complex, which was unmanned made the public property a haven for hooligans especially during the evening hours. A security guard who is employed at the building right next to the complex said, “There have been so many instances when I have found liquor bottles inside and drunkards swaying around the area at night. But, there is no one to stop them.”
When we asked Executive Engineer of BDA, Venugopal Rao about the number of shops which are shut down and the losses incurred by the BDA, he defensively retorted, “Absolutely no losses. There are very few shops which are closed. The ones shut down are garages and they are not meant for commercial purposes anyway. Can you please name the shops which are closed?”
Venugopal added, “We had plans of remodelling this BDA complex since 2008 and converting the space into a commercial mall. The negotiations for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is still in progress.” When asked about the reasons for the delay, he said, “We are taking it up in a phased manner. There are other BDA complexes which have been taken into consideration for the same project, including the ones in Indiaranagar, Banashankari, RT Nagar and Austin Town. Obviously, the Indiranagar BDA Complex will be given priority because of its prime location. This BDA complex is not really commercially viable.” When asked about the garbage being piled up, he said, “There is no domestic waste, only dry leaves piling up. It is cleared only once in a month.”
The public toilets inside the BDA Complex are also in a pathetic condition. The lady shop owner of Dulmaan aquarium said, “The shopkeepers left because they were not doing good business here. This place is not well-maintained. How do you expect the customers to come here? Even the toilets are in such bad shape.”
When we asked her if she was aware of the re-modelling plans, she replied, “They have been talking about it for the past three years. But, nothing has happened so far.” She also complained about the nuisance created by the hooligans and the need for more security. We also found the stormwater drains filled up with garbage and vehicles parked haphazardly. The re-modelling work is expected to begin in another 5-6 months. It is in urgent need of facelift otherwise it may turn into another story of BDA’s total apathy.