BENGALURU: Business is slowing down on Church Street, one of Bengaluru’s busiest commercial areas, and the piling up of garbage and inconvenient road blocks are said to be the reason.
The road gets dark at night, as the few street lights on it are dim at best. Shops that have been on the street for the past 30 years have downed shutters after barricades were placed at one end of the road.
The famous Variety Book House closed down 10 days ago. Noor Hussain, proprietor of the store, says, “We don’t know why the road has been barricaded. Our regular customers were not allowed to park their vehicles here. Many celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan and Nandan Nilekani, had visited our store. Now, after 42 years, I have had to close the shop.”
Khanate, a three-decade-old suiting shop, also shut down recently. Owner Alim Khan says, “Parking on Church Street is one of the main reasons we shifted our shop. All the vehicles are diverted due to the construction work. Church Street is one of the worst places to run a business. The BBMP is only interested in developing MG Road.”
A relatively recent entrant on the street, Brown Tree, also closed down. The health food store had been around for five years.
Goobes Book Republic, located in a basement commercial space, has also lost customers due to parking troubles. “My shop already has poor visibility. On top of that, people can’t park their vehicles around here,” says its owner Vinayak.
The road is poorly maintained and riddled with potholes. Some regulars on the road, like Shubang, a student from Jain College, are embarrassed by its condition. “Many foreigners visit the restaurants and pubs here. What will they think of us if a street in the heart of the city is so badly maintained?” he asks.
The busy commercial street, with numerous shops and restaurants, generates a lot of garbage. But the BBMP comes for collection only once in three days, say shopkeepers.
Nasser, who has been running a shop here for nearly a decade, says, “It’s a real problem and the authorities don’t care.”
The street opens to a one-way, with traffic flowing from Koshy’s towards Empire Restaurant. The construction going on at this end has greatly affected the businesses around here. Jogi, who runs a paan shop, says, “Business has drastically come down, and the barricades are the main reason. Half the width of this stretch has now been alloted for parking.”
Pratap Reddy, Additional Commissioner of Police (West), says, “If the authorities fix the road, traffic will be smooth and the parking problems will be solved.”