Residents of Bengaluru's upmarket Indiranagar are concerned about the Bengaluru Development Authority's plan to knock down an over three-decade-old commercial complex in the area and erect a mall in its place. The mall will be built by private developers and it is feared that a lot of trees will be cut for the project.
Residents say a mall would be more than they can handle, but authorities say they have to move with the times. The residents plan to protest tomorrow evening.
The complex spread over six acres of prime land comes under the BDA. It looks neglected, but residents fear that a mall would make matters worse for them. Loss of green cover and a jump in traffic are among their concerns.
Dr Madhuri Salgar, a resident of the area, told NDTV, "We don't want a mall here. We want open areas. They can develop this space instead of constructing a mall here."
R Krishnan, president of Indiranagar First Stage Residents' Welfare Association, said, "Once this shopping complex is demolished and a big mall comes up, vehicles will be parked in the bylanes. It is going to be difficult for senior citizens. They should not chop off any tree that has been here for the last 50-60 years."
The BDA says that big trees on the periphery will be safe.
BS Shivakumar, BDA engineer, told NDTV, "The BDA has to give the final go-ahead. When we approve the plan, we will take care of the trees. We can't say we won't cut any trees, but we will ensure minimum loss."
Lack of transparency is another issue for the residents and those who have been running businesses in the complex that was built in 1982.
Pushpa Ramesh Rai, who has been running a shop here for the last 36 years, told NDTV, "We have been given no notice. We only know what we have seen in the newspapers."
R Krishnan, another shopkeeper, said, "They were not transparent at all. We had filed an RTI, but there has been no response."
"It is all hush hush," said Dr Salgar.
The BDA has clarified there is no going back on the plan.
Mr Shivakumar, said, "It is a Rs 660 crore-project and will take about two years to complete. It will be on a 30-year lease, the building will come back to BDA after this period. The complex in its current position is not financially viable for the BDA. We are not generating any revenue. It is difficult to maintain the building. The rents fixed in the past haven't been increased."