BENGALURU: Finally, in 2008, the city got a designated place for protests--a portion of Freedom Park. The civic authorities might have thought that they had found a solution, but it is actually creating problems.
Earlier, protests used to be held at Banappa Park, Chalukya Circle, Mourya Circle, Town Hall, Mysore Bank Circle and other places causing severe traffic jams. To solve the traffic woes, the BBMP allotted five acres of land at Freedom Park at the old Central jail premises on Sheshadri Road, to hold protests on the lines of Hyde Park in London. But what seems to have defeated the purpose is the protestors hitting streets more often and their vehicles parked haphazardly on the roadside.
A police officer said, “In one month, on an average, there will be 30 protests and 15 rallies. All these happen only on working days. Vehicles are not parked properly and due to bad roads, vehicular movement is affected. If the traffic is stuck for 10 seconds on Sheshadri Road, it will take at least 5 minutes to make way for the vehicles.”
On Saturday’s protest that halted traffic, an on-duty police official said, “There is separate parking for vehicles. But the leading protestors were ministers, MLAs and MLCs and other political leaders. They all took their vehicles up to the Park gate, and this caused huge traffic congestion. The netas and their supporters don’t listen to us and we are helpless.”
Another community hit by the frequent protests at Freedom Park is the colleges in the vicinity. There are over 10 colleges in and around KR Circle, including Maharani’s Science College for Women and VHD Home Science College. Right opposite Freedom Park is Maharani’s Arts College for Women which starts around 9am.
Often, students miss their classes due to these traffic jams. Another problem is that it is difficult to conduct classes due to noise during these protests and rallies, say lecturers.
A senior lecturer at Maharani’s Arts College for Women, said, “Most of the times, we postpone classes to the afternoon session due to the unbearable noise outside.”
Said a lecturer of VHD Home Science College, “We expect low attendance on protest days and we cannot even pull up students as we are aware of the chaos near the college.”
Colleges Bear the Brunt
Colleges in the vicinity of Freedom Park: Maharani’s Arts College for Women, Maharani’s Science College for Women, VHD Home Science College, Government RC College, Government Arts College, Government Science College, Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College, Government Polytechnic, SJP College, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering and the Central College campus of Bangalore University where over 10 major departments function