Lake on Bannerghatta RoadWhen Sundar V bought a flat in Surabhi Apartments on Bannerghetta Road in Bilekahalli, one of the big attractions was the quick access
to the main road. Now, he regrets that decision. For the past year, that accessibility has been a distant memory, thanks to a storm water drain being built in front of the apartment. And he's not alone.

The construction, part of a Rs 14.13 crore project, began on July 24, 2008. The drain runs for 710 metres in front of a few apartments, including Ranka Apartments, Mantri Terrace and Surabhi Apartments -- all home to over 1,000 families. Thanks to the digging, residents have been forced to find a new route to reach the main road.

That new route is a 2.5-km stretch. "The plot is like a large rectangle. To get out from one side, we're forced to traverse the other three sides," said Sundareshan Vaidyanathan, a resident of this area. Also, it's a narrow village road along which two vehicles can't go side by side. "Mornings are a nightmare for people going to work. We take at least 25 minutes to cross this stretch alone. Traffic literally crawls on these roads," said Sudheer V, another resident.

Many residents are so fed up with this mess that they've vacated their flats. "I know of at least seven families which have left because of this," said Sundareshan. A new block is ready here, but people who bought apartments there don't want to move in now, leaving it deserted.

Businessmen have shifted out as well and one restaurant shut down its branch. "When we began around two-and-a-half years ago, we had 200 customers daily. After this construction began, it started dwindling and finally came down to five a day. We were running at a loss of Rs 15 lakh -- and shut down the branch. Now, we have a branch in BTM Layout and in front of IIM-B," said Balkrishna Birla, owner of Potluck.

The BBMP says that the delay was because of the problems in shifting of utilities. "There were many Bescom and BSNL cables and three vents of underground drainage crossing the area. Clearing them took a lot of time. Every time we started excavation thinking that all the cables were removed, we'd stumble on another one causing stoppage all over again," said S B Siddarangappa, chief engineer, storm water drains, who was in charge of this project when it began. But there's some hope for Sundar and the other residents. Siddarangappa is sure the work will be completed in a few weeks.

Source: toiblr.reporter@timesgroup.com , Times of India