BBMP officials say they receive few complaints about construction material on footpaths.
Construction materials have taken over footpaths in Jayanagar, forcing pedestrians to walk on roads. Many places in Jayanagar, including the pavement outside the Shaffer Memorial Church in South End Circle, have been encroached with construction materials, like cement, gravel and other debris.
Footpaths in other areas like the 9th Main Road, 13th A Cross Road, 10th Cross Road and many more have continued to be home to building materials for months. Temporary sheds are also built on sidewalks in some places in Jayanagar.
A pedestrian carefully walking on the edge of the pavement outside Shaffer Memorial Church said, “There are encroachments everywhere in Jayanagar.” She also mentioned the need to be cautious as “there are vehicles on one side and construction materials on the other.”
A student on her way to college said the construction has been going on for about one or two months. A Shaffer Memorial Church member said the construction will be completed within two months, at most. He said he does not require any permission for storing construction debris on his compound.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) Building bye-laws state that any person intending to construct or reconstruct a building should pay the ground rent to stock building material on public land. However, this storage should be done in a way that does not obstruct the movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
In February, nearly 100 volunteers of the Jayanagar Madhavan Park (JMP) group marched from Madhavan Park to the BBMP south division office in Jayanagar to reclaim footpaths that have been encroached in the area.
The National Building Code of India also states that storing these materials should be done so that the pavements remain safe for use by pedestrians, hawkers, and cyclists, including non-motorized vehicle (NMV) drivers.
Nevertheless, the problem remains. Auto drivers said they also suffer as they cannot find spaces to park. The building materials on the roads also obstruct the movement of vehicles.
However, the Jurisdictional Engineer of the Jayanagar subdivision said they only receive two to three complaints about the temporary placement of construction materials in a month. He said these are usually cleared within a day or two. The official said the BBMP sends a legal notice to the owner of the building, and in case of non-compliance, they take away the materials.
Harsha Nadagoudar, an urban planner and Director of Hybrid Urbanists Private Limited, said sidewalks are a means to separate vehicular and pedestrian movements, but due to the rise in “commercial outlets, there is negligence and misuse of footpaths.” He added that the BBMP should pass “strict regulations on ongoing constructions of buildings” which affect the movements of pedestrians to ensure that they walk comfortably in public places.