Making them really our own

KR Circle: The Underground festival was celebrated to showcase that the un-used subways in the heart of the city were places that are clean. It was generally expected that people will begin to use the subways to avoid risking their lives at the heaviest traffic junctions in the city, the K R circle.

But, the effort of some of the citizen groups like the Bangalore Rising, the Ugly Indians and others to scrub, wash and, generally, make the subway a nice place for people to comfortably walk to avoid the mad traffic at one of the busiest junctions in the city appears to have been wasted. There are not many people who are prepared to use the subways post the Underground festival.

Doubts persist over the subway being safe for women and whether it consumes less time to cross the road rather than by using the subway.  The reasons given by the people are many.

“Poor people use the roads. They are not literate enough to be aware of the existence of the subways,’’ said Nayan Kumar, an IT professional, who was waiting for a cab near the circle.

Two businessmen, Shashi Kant and Satya Prakash, felt that the subways were not being used even though they were clean.

“This subway is not safe for women. It poses a threat for women since the subways are empty and not well lit. It’s possible to attract trouble easily in the subways because of lack of security guards,” they said.

But, Rashmi, a student studying in one of the colleges nearby, had a totally different take on the question of safety in the subways which she used daily. “It has a security guard for safety,’’ she said.

Four weeks ago, the KR Circle subway was the location for the hosting of the Bangalore Underground. Like on Rajyothsava day 2014, this year too, the festival showcased a wide range of events like a music festival, theatre, display of art and photography, a heritage walk and a 2K Underground run.

The purpose was to communicate to the people that the subway was a transformed underground facility. It was no more stinking, dingy or dangerous. In other words, it was to tell people that a public space had been reclaimed by the people themselves for the people.

An estimated 10,000 pedestrians cross the five roads converging at the KR circle daily to reach the numerous government office complexes, court complexes and educational institutions around the entire area. They, obviously, prefer to jump the medians and risk their lives rather than use the clean premises underground. NSoJ Bureau

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