HSR LAYOUT, Bengaluru: The roaring success of the first ever exercise to control pollution and maximise usage of public transport by banning two, three and four wheelers in HSR Layout has opened up the possibility of other localities also following suit in a phased manner.
The Open Street Day concept, implemented from 6 am to 9 pm last Sunday saw residents of HSR Layout breathing fresh air like they have never done before or, at least, for a long time. The enthusiasm among the residents was palpable.
“Kids, nowadays, rarely get space to play. I am very happy with this initiative and look forward for more such events,” said Mr. Vikas Vinit who works in an MNC and is a father of a 10 year old.
Mr. Vinod Bhargav, who was visiting his son here, said that such events must be promoted as they not only help reduce pollution and fuel consumption of the nation but also give time to families and the community to bond.
Open Street Day was organised by various government departments and civic stakeholders as part of the effort to reduce pollution in the city.
“The idea basically stemmed out of a meeting conducted to review the pollution situation in Bangalore, after the city was declared the second most polluted in India. We found that more than 50 per cent of the pollution is happening because of the vehicles. The idea is to promote public transport and sensitize people to pollution,’’ Ekroop Caur, managing director, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), told NSoJ News.
The BMTC deployed 94 more buses in six of the seven sectors in HSR Layout to ferry people around.
“The fares for the buses plying around is only Rs 5 to encourage usage of buses and to connect the residents to other parts of the city without any discomfort,” said Ms Caur.
“The community has been very supportive and we plan to do this event in other parts of Bangalore as well,” she added.
“Bangalore has a fine road transport service, which connects all the parts of the city. We aim to promote public and non-motorised transport for a greener tomorrow,” said Mr Sudhir Singh who works in BMTC.
The residents of the area were enthusiastic about the event and even volunteered as part of the local organising committee. The event started at 6 am with a cycle ride, followed by a yoga session and other cultural events. The only vehicles allowed to operate were emergency services vehicles such as ambulances, fire brigade, garbage trucks, water tankers and police vehicles.
But not everyone supported the initiative. A few private vehicles which came on the roads were stopped by the police or volunteers leading to arguments between the drivers and volunteers and policemen. Heated arguments ensued largely at the entry and exit points to HSR Layout as the traffic police had placed barricades to restrict entry of vehicles.
“I think it’s a display of really bad sportsmanship from the people who are using their vehicles. This event is organised by the authorities for our good and as responsible citizens everyone should participate in it,” said Mrs. Gurmat Chauhan, a resident.
The event was a joint initiative by multiple organizations such as DULT, BMTC, Bangalore Traffic Police, BMRCL, Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment, Department of Tourism, BBMP, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and local citizen groups.
– Namrata Srivastava