The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had issued closure notices to 3,658 commercial establishments that were conducting business in residential areas and were in violation of zoning regulations. The dust seemed to have settled down on what seemed to be a serious crackdown that was ordered more than a couple of years ago as many of these commercial establishments continue to function.

Media reports state that about six months ago only 5% of the commercial establishments found to be in violation were shut.

Upset over the inaction, many activists and residents have raised their voice once again. Their demand is that the law be enforced in respect of RMP (Revised Master Plan)2015 without fear or favour, swiftly, without succumbing to pressure from vested interests.

The Revised Master Plan 2015 amended by gazette notification by the Government of Karnataka in February 2015 draws out the provisions for zoning in Bengaluru.

“No commercial usage is permitted in areas zoned as residential where the road widths are 40 feet and less. In residential roads above 40 feet in width a limited set of commercial ancillary usages are permitted. These include petty shops, photocopying outlets, professional offices for doctors & lawyers, ATMs etc. These ancillary usages are allowed provided they do not use more than 50 square metres or 20% of the constructed area of the building whichever is less,” Nitin Seshadri, Citizen Activist and Resident of Koramangala, stated on Monday.

 

In his statement, Seshadri said that there could be contention over lack of space to meet the needs of residents. He pointed out that there are designated commercial zones in all residential areas, which allow commercial establishments to operate freely.

Residents have long cried over the nuisance caused in their areas, claiming that apart from the peace being disturbed with loud music in pubs or the loud horns that flare in the streets, there seems to be a number of worries that they face, including health hazards.

While closure notices act as an acknowledgement the serious lack in the drive to implement said law is what has caused activists to grow impatient over time.

Suresh NR, director of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation who welcomed the direction of the deputy chief minister and action taken by the BBMP in issuing notices and cancelling trade licenses of illegal commercial establishments in Bengaluru, called these establishments the worst offenders. He marked that they cause law and order problems, put undue pressure on power and drinking water supply, generate excess garbage and noise pollution.

Parking woes knows no bounds for residents as vehicles cross boundaries making vehicular movement and parking difficult for residents. Designated spaces for parking are being used for commercial activities causing the lack in optimal utilisation of space.