Bengaluru: The entire Avenue Road has been dug up for TenderSURE road work resulting in low business for traders. They fear that their shops may get flooded during heavy rain as the new road will be built higher than the present one.
The road has been dug up to lay sewage pipes, making the road risky to walk on. A four-foot-deep crater has been created in front of the stationery shop of Praveen Patel. People are unlikely to take the risk of enter his shop by jumping over the excavation.
“They (engineers) assured us they would keep the height of the road the same as the shop floor,” Patel said.
Murthy D, who has been selling books on the road for more than 20 years, said: “My shop and the present road are at the same level. We have requested the authorities many times not to raise the height.”
There are already many shops in Avenue Road which are three to four feet below the present road. They may become ankle-deep water bodies when it rains. It will be difficult for customers to enter the shops if the height of the new road increases.
Pavan Kalyan, engineer in-charge of the project, informed The Observer that the plan was chalked out keeping the height factor in mind. “The road will be only 200 mm high. We are using 900 mm SWD pipes for the drainage system which will be connected through manholes at points. And every 25 metres of the road will have a chamber. So there is no possibility of water on the road entering shops.”
The 970-meter-long project will be executed in three phases of 300 meters. The 300- meter stretch between Kamat Hotel and Banaras Sweet House has been undertaken in the first phase. The entire stretch is dug up at many places. Some holes have concrete and rod structures. Soil, sand, stone chips are piled every 20 to 30 meters. The shopkeepers and visitors say some person falls every day due to the uneven surface.
Rohini S, a college student who frequently visits the road to buy second-hand books, said the area is popular among college students. “Nowadays it’s horrible to walk on the road. There’s always a chance of us falling into the chambers.”
Outside the entrance of Pooja Polypack and Stationers, almost 40-foot-long fibre pipes have been piled up for more than one month. The entrance is entirely blocked both vertically and horizontally. Sunil Choudhary, owner of the shop, said, “They did not use even a single pipe in the past month. We have kept the shop open just to pass time. Customers can’t see the shop, how will they come?”
A member of FKCCI’s managing committee said it is impossible to walk on such a road. Previously, the shopkeepers of Avenue Road objected to air pollution due to the dust particles from the construction work. To solve the issue, BBMP promised to sprinkle water twice a day. But A. Ramesh, owner of Avenue Book Centre, said that the traders had to arrange water sprinklers by pooling money. “We don’t trust them anymore. It is expected that the road will be almost one foot higher. Let’s see what they do with the footpath.”
He objected to the slow pace of the project. Echoing the others, he said: “There is no business for more than a year; first there was a lockdown, now this. We are earning so little that we can’t even pay the shop rent. Government earns a lot of revenue from this area; they should speed up the project work.”
BBMP took up the TenderSURE road on Avenue Road after getting permission from the traffic police on January 18, 2021. It has directed contractors to complete the project by October 2021.