BENGALURU: While many have come to enjoy the weekend vehicle ban on Church Street (an initiative implemented by Directorate of Urban and Land Transport along with partners like Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board), residents of the area are not in favour of this move, especially since it has been extended till May 2021. Residents of Daffodils, Deauville, Ghar Apartments, etc are expressing their displeasure, some even terming it “thoughtless”.
They also complain that service executives like plumbers and domestic help are unable to comply with the vehicular ban on weekends. “We are an elderly couple and cannot walk all the way till the main road for a cab. Allowing a plumber or a domestic help on weekends has also become a hassle. A few weeks back, a lot of water was wasted only because the plumber refused to walk over to our home on a weekend, carrying heavy tools,” says a resident who wished to remain anonymous.
KP John, who is a resident of Church Street for more than 50 years now, has seen the locality go through numerous changes over the years. The vehicular ban, however, has been the hardest to accept. His biggest gripe? The lack of freedom to invite guests and other people to his home. “This initiative cannot go on forever. I have planned to repair my house and I have to hold up important works as labourers and other construction personnel cannot get the materials to my doorstep on weekends. Moreover, DULT has not consulted enough residents before going ahead with this initiative. The authorities need to address these issues immediately,” says John.
Ramasastry Ambarish, president of Church Street Welfare Association and resident of Deauville Apartment, rues, “This is an utterly ridiculous move. They are trampling on our fundamental right to free access. They have held us hostage for six months. I have addressed the issues through letters, but got no answer from them. They don’t give passes to domestic help and other visitors to our home. We also suggested they allow vehicles for residents only from BPL office to Coconut Grove and block the rest of Church Street on weekends.”
V Manjula, commissioner of DULT, says, “Residents and even their immediate family members have been given passes for vehicles so that their movement is not hindered. Cities across the world are using Covid-19 as an opportunity to pedestrianise their streets, reduce carriage way for motorised vehicles and ensure decongestion. If we want a liveable and more sustainable city, we need to embrace and scale up such initiatives across the city.”