Yes, we all do. After all, malls are nice places to be in. They are structured spaces, they have clean toilets, swanky floors and always running escalators. People dress nicely to ‘go to the mall’.
Even the outsides of malls are paved nicely compared to our very dusty streets. So much so that youngsters – girls and boys – just love to ‘hang around’ and have fun.
Everyone in our malls is usually polite. Ever seen a desi street fight break out in a mall? In the mall, we become a ‘mall public’, i.e. more civil, even as on the streets our more agressive dog-eat-dog side comes out.
But most of all, malls have well maintained sanitation. Ask the women, they’ll tell you. For years they have accustomed themselves to moving around in public without having to expect a clean toilet.
So yes, why would we not love malls? They are the ventilation for our aspirations to the ‘good life’. Little wonder then that malls have mushroomed all over urban India and Bengaluru is no exception.
But Citizen Matters found out that the BBMP loves malls too. Over the past few years, your municipal administration has sanctioned scores of malls. Except BBMP’s love for malls is blind, and blind especially to traffic. The city’s outdated building bye-laws of 2003 and Revised Master Plan 2015 do not require traffic management plans to be enforced as part of mall approval. BBMP officials themselves admit this.
More importantly, neither city adminstrators nor our one-year-old elected council have done anything to update the rules.
As a result, malls can pretty much come up anywhere. BBMP makes no real fuss about how and where their entries and exits or access roads and ramps need to be located. After all, Bangalore traffic cops have to deal with mess.
Read Citizen Matters’s investigative report on this: Malls: It’s BBMP vs Traffic Police
There is still a lesson in this. Malls are definitely preferred destinations for all the reasons stated earlier. But where they come up and how traffic flows around, into and out of them matters as much as the malls and conveniences within! ⊕