Dark & ​​complex issue

By Y Maheswara Reddy



PWD’s commercial complex in a shambles – shop owners bereft of customers; library-goers without usable loo; ATM in the dark due to lack of streetlights

A commercial complex owned by the Public Works Department (PWD) occupying pride of place in the city is turning out to be a case study on how shopping complexes constructed by either PWD or Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) face a life of neglect.

The commercial complex is aimed to cater to the needs of state government employees and people residing at Jeevan Bhima Nagar. There are hundreds of residential quarters on both sides of Jeevan Bhima Nagar Main Road. The commercial complex consists of 14 shops, including a State Bank of India branch and a Public Library.



However, half of the shops remained shut due to lack of business and the remaining tenants are expected to vacate the shops in the near future.

“It is difficult for anyone to visit this commercial complex after 7 pm as the complex premises is pitch dark. We have been appealing to the PWD engineer to install one or two street lights but in vain. There is no footfall into my shop after 7 pm. I have to sit idle for two to three hours expecting customers, ” said A Alexander, who owns an automobile shop.

A tenant complains that she has been incurring a loss due to lack of amenities at this complex. “I have been continuing here as there is no other option for me. But how long can I continue incurring loss? ” Asks the tenant on the condition of anonymity.

It is believed that SBI is among the tenants who pay maximum rent to the PWD. It is said the SBI has been paying a rent of Rs 3 lakh per month to the PWD. Though the SBI has installed an ATM at the complex, many people do not like to visit the ATM at night due to lack of street lights and security guards. “I prefer to go to an ATM in a well-lit area to withdraw money rather than risking my life by visiting the ATM at this complex at night,” said Venkataiah, an SBI customer.

Quality of the painting work

Another disgusting issue at the complex is the defunct or choked toilets. Many residents visit the Public Library to read newspapers and books. Some of them are senior citizens. “I visit the library every day to read newspapers and books but could not stay for more than one or two hours as I am a diabetic and need to attend nature’s call. The toilet is in a bad condition. The PWD engineer must not only install street lights but also repair the toilets, ” he said Sreenivasa Reddya resident.

The tenants put the blame on the PWD engineer for wasting money on painting and fencing open space on the complex premises instead of installing the street lights and repairing the toilets. They said that many people visit the SBI branch during the weekdays and they face a lot of inconvenience due to lack of space for parking their vehicles. “There was no need to waste money on fencing the vacant space,” he said.

This complex may be handed over to Karnataka Rural Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) for further development and upgradation

–PWD assistant engineer Girish

Meanwhile, PWD assistant engineer Girish said that some developmental works were taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh a few months ago. “The vacant space was fenced to avoid unauthorized parking of vehicles. I will inform the electrical department about the lack of street lights on the complex premises. This complex may be handed over to Karnataka Rural Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) for further development and upgradation, ” said Girish.

When asked why Rs 10 lakh was spent on painting and fencing the vacant space if the PWD had decided to hand over the commercial complex to the KRDCL, he had no answer though.

PWD engineer (electrical) Manu Kumar said that he took charge 18 months ago but could not visit the commercial complex. “I am focusing on fixing electrical problems at PWD residential quarters. I visited the commercial complex only once in 18 months. I will take BBMP help to install street lights on the complex premises, ” said Manu Kumar.

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