BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) recently gave the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) the green signal to demolish the huge 67-year-old ‘Vishnu Prakash’ building in Balepet. The building had developed cracks last month due to the underground tunnelling work by tunnel boring machine ‘Kaveri’.
Over the last one month, residents of the building have been making do in lodges and relative’s houses. They have now decided to shift to rented houses, but are facing a tussle with the Metro’s contractor over accommodation expenses.
Three of the five families living in the building, located between J M Lane and Balepet Main Road, were forced to move out on November 4 due to the damage caused by ‘Kaveri’, which was tunnelling between Chickpet and Majestic.
The families were to stay at the nearby ‘Shristi Comforts’ for just 10 days, but a month has passed and there they stay still. “We have completed exactly a month here now and plan to shift to a rented house as we have been told that our building would be demolished,” said Ashwath Narayan Bali. His wife Padma, daughter Kavitha, and four-year-old grandson Dhruv were put up in a single room by BMRCL. After the November 4 incident, Bali was also forced to shut his devotional bookstore in ‘Vishnu Prakash’. “We were later allowed to shift to a huge room with a triple bed,” Kavitha said. Her aunt R Tulsi too was put up in an adjacent single room.
A top Metro official confirmed that the BBMP had okayed demolition of the building just a few days ago. “Our men visited the spot and carried out inspection,” he said.
What They Are Asking: The official also said the occupants were demanding huge sums as compensation. Two of the five families are refusing to leave even, he added. “Our contractor for the underground work, Coastal-TTS JV, feels the demands are exorbitant,” he said. “Metro has primary responsibility for the damage caused. But our contractors are expected to compensate for the damages suffered due to the work done by them. He has taken an insurance to cover the compensation.”
The official said Bali’s family was asking for Rs 30,000 as rent and Rs 6 lakh as advance to move into a rented house. “That is so much more than the 10 month rent advance, which is the norm in the city,” he said. The official added that Bali was also demanding a compensation of Rs 6,000 for each day he could not open his shop. “It was a small shop and this demand is just too much,” he said.
He said another family has asked for Rs 12,000 as rent and Rs 3 lakh as advance. Tulsi, another occupant, said she has been paid Rs 59,000 so far as rental and other expenses.
Jaya Lakshmi, a zoology lecturer at a private college, and her sibling have been spending nights at their youngest sister’s house in Cottonpet and returning back home during the day. “Karunanakara Reddy (the contractor’s representative) met me and asked me to vacate quickly. I told him I
cannot do anything quickly and can’t find a house on short notice,” she said. “When I asked about the rent range I could look for, he said I could look at anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000, and that they would pay my advance. Anyway, I have not taken any decision so far and will be meeting my advocate on Friday.”
When contacted, Karunakara Reddy said he was not authorised to speak to the media.