Thursday, April 5, 2007

Metro vs Retro!


I retrieved Tuesday's newspaper from the gutter yesterday, where my paperman had considerately left it. A box item at the bottom of the front page caught my eye. Work on the Metro rail is finally starting on MG Road. Yay. As a first step, the beautiful Bougainvillea lined promenade will be removed along with all its trees. Ah ok.

WHATTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!! Gulp, choke, gag! You cant "remove" the promenade!!! It's been there 75 years! I want the Metro very much but can you imagine MG Road without its beautiful promenade, the gorgeous pink bougainvillea bower at Anil Kumble circle and its tree-lined walkway? MG will turn into one of those dusty main streets in any old Indian town without it!!! You cant just "remove" a bangalore institution, Metro People!!

Surely we can do something to let both the old and the new survive?? We managed in 2005 though, when the towering mango trees in front of Bishop Cottons were being butchered. It was really heartening to see so many people keep vigil all night to stave off those timber contractors (who had obviousy greased a LOT of palms to get at the wood). Finally the corporation relented and spared 700 of the 750 trees that were slated for hacking.

If you hear of any rallies or protests, please please let me know. I cannot believe Bangalore can let this happen.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/Cities/Metro_Rail_to_change_face_of_Bangalore/RssArticleShow/articleshow/1853064.cms

10 comments:

comment_raja said...

ugh :(
i cannot believe that this is happening. what is the matter with these city planners?

RustyNeurons said...

I saw the 'artist's impression' of how the metro would be positioned in MG road in today's newspaper. The authorities are a bunch of dumbheads with zero sense of aesthetics. :(

Bikerdude said...

I calmed down a bit and went and surveyed the situation rusty.
It looks like a total of 10 trees will be chopped for the project, including the big mango and the big banyan. Of course a whole bunch of your favourite Lagerstroemias (the pink and lilac flowers) will probably go too.

Half the boulevard however is backed by the Cariappa park so the green cover from there will now be visible, even if the boulevard trees go..

The Metro guys have said they will redo the boulevard after the rail is built so I guess theres nothing left to do but see and sigh.

I will be very sad indeed if they remove the beautiful bougainvillea bower at Anil Kumble circle though.

Bikerdude said...

The latest news is that the metro chief promised to (a) rebuild the boulevard after the metro has been constructed, and (b) carefully remove transplant as many of the trees on the boulevard into the Army grounds behind it. Not bad I suppose, but I hope its not all just talk.

But seriously, am I overreacting to this whole thing?

Anonymous said...

Isn't there an urban art council in Bangalore? And why the surprise move? I'm dead sure the step would have got a thumbs down from 90% of the public.

This is serious: you just can't replace heritage sites once they are gone.

I'll sign a petition even now. Who can start it?

bikerdude said...

Anonymous, Bangalore does have an Urban Arts Commission. Though it's not a 100% effective, it does manage to prevent massive destruction of the city's heritage sites.

Former judge Saldanha conducted a massive campaign to protect the boulevard, the result of which is the promise by BMRCL to reconstruct the boulevard and relocate the trees.

By the way a small bit part of the Lalbagh is going too, though that will probably happen only by 2009.

I'll look out and post info on campaigns, petitions etc.

Checkout this blog for more details:
http://bangalorebuzz.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Here's something that expresses my feeling about design and architecture:

3.3.2 Design Related Industries. For too long the value of design has been
underappreciated. Even within 10 years ago, Northern Ireland was presented to
potential investors as a low-wage environment for business. However, low or no
value-added jobs and industries are not viable in an economy with a decreasing
manufacturing base and an increasingly high-wage labour force. Our strength is
our capacity for a well-educated and highly skilled work force. Existing
manufacturing industries can survive with the element of design. For example,
design and designer fashion can provide competitive advantage to Northern
Ireland's textile industry; the textile industry in Italy remains competitive under
this approach.
3.3.3 Architecture is an exportable business service. There's no denying the
competency of this profession, but so far architecture has not been enveloped
with the wider arts and culture community. This is a mistake. Just as Alliance is
concerned with a bias towards a commercial value of creativity, we must have the
arts and culture community welcome architecture as a valued participant in the
creativity and innovation of our society.

http://www.allianceparty.org/resources/sites/82.165.40.25-42fa41bb0bef84.24243647/Consultation%20Response%20Papers%20(PDF)/Alliance+Party+
Consultation+Response+Paper:
+Unlocking+Creativity:+A+Draft
+Action+Plan.pdf

An analogy is that the West comes to India for flowers (a thriving industry in India), so why not for architecture and urban planning? Because our designers are being marginalised. The poster boys are the IT sector. See how our fashion designers continue to ask for support from the commerce ministry. Pretty sad, considering the rich pool of human resources we have - :^(

BTW, nice blog - do try to bump it up with the correct key words and tags for Googling. You came on Page 3 of Google for "Bangalore blogs"! I only found you because you are the only one whingeing about the boulevard! And good recognition from the Burrp/Blah! boys!

Bikerdude said...

Thanks Anonymous- will try putting in a few more tags.

Interesting article!

Bikerdude said...

In the MOST heartening sight I have seen in a long while, the 11 trees that were about to be axed for the metro rain on the MG road promenade, are are being carefully unearthed and relocated to Cariappa park. The big mango tree in the centre has been left to stand on its own island.

Whew

In other news, roads are being widened near chalukya hotel and palace road but the trees that are in the way will be used as road dividers. Those that cannot, will be moved in a similar fashion.

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