Karnataka: Our rights infringed, say Church Street residents | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: The move to continue Church Street as pedestrian-only zone for four more weeks has not gone down well with nearly 50 families staying there. “Our movements during weekends are restricted, we feel choked and this should not continue,” they said.
Church Street was converted into pedestrian-only space during weekends following a proposal by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) as part of the Clean Air initiative. Though it was to end on February 28, residents received a communication on Tuesday that it would be extended till March-end.

Residents insist the move is not resident-friendly and their complaints haven’t been addressed. The restrictions imposed on vehicle use have miffed residents, most of them senior citizens. There are over 150 persons in three apartments and a few independent houses on Church Street. Sameera Fernandez, whose parents live there, said: “We were not consulted before DULT extended this. We’ve had a bad experience since the beginning. My parents are old and go to church every Sunday. Taking out the vehicle and returning home is a challenge as visitors feel we’re intruding into their space. People harass residents for taking their vehicles out.”
The residents said they gave two complaints to DULT in November, but to no avail. Only one pass is issued per family, said another resident, adding: “If a family member takes the car out, the other members are stranded at home or forced to walk to the main road to take a taxi.”
Minati Ambarish, member, Church Street Welfare Association, said: “We strongly feel our rights are infringed. Everyone should have free entry and exit from their homes, but it doesn’t happen here during weekends.” She added: “Friends can’t visit us; we cannot take a taxi from the airport and reach home as vehicles without passes are not allowed and we worry about not getting an ambulance on time in a medical emergency.”
Adding to the misery is the refusal of facility management staff (including security guards, maids and gardeners) to work during weekends. “Since they are forced to pay and park outside Church Street, they don’t want to report for work,” said a resident.
The residents allege the project has been done to favour a few restaurants. Pollution levels during weekends are higher on the street, they said, adding that huge crowds pose a risk for them as the pandemic is not yet over. They urged Shanthinagar MLA N A Haris and other officials to look at the issue from resident’s perspective too.

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Sagar Biswas

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