How about a food street for Malleshwaram?

The road between C V Raman House and MES College is near-empty and traffic-free. This makes it an ideal location for a food street. Pic: Ramesh Sreekantan

Which Malleshwaram resident is not familiar with the Chinese food stalls set up every evening on 15th Cross, between 8th Main and 10th Main? They occupy the footpath in front of Panchavati, the house of the well-known Nobel Prize winning Physicist, C V Raman.

The food stalls, which started with an auto rickshaw selling `Hot hot Chinese food’ in the evening, have now increased. Now there is a stall serving meals at lunchtime, a sugarcane juice stand and a `chaat’ cart.

The problem:

These stalls are quite popular. As a result, there is a lot of traffic in the evening. Cars park illegally at the junction of 8th Main and 15th Cross, inconveniencing vehicles turning left on to 15th Cross from 8th Main. The footpath is completely encroached by the vendors making it impossible to walk on. The place becomes filthy thanks to the dumping of plates/napkins etc. on to the road or in the stormwater drain. There are a few concrete pipes lying around which have become de facto seats cum garbage dumps.

While eating, many people stand on the road – sometimes in the middle of the road. This is very dangerous to them as well as to vehicles travelling on the street as the people are focussed on their food.

A few days ago, I almost had a serious accident while riding my cycle because a man, oblivious to the fact that he was on the road as he was focussed on his food, strolled right in to the middle of the road where I was riding. Fortunately I was not going very fast and I could stop – but a motorised vehicle would have found it harder.

The footpath on 15th Cross was recently renovated spending a lot of money. These stalls have destroyed the footpath and made them fillthy and black with the soot of cooking oil. The place smells every night.

A possible solution:

Since the stalls are very popular, many people would not be happy if they are shut down. However, they could be moved to a more convenient location.

The stretch of 10th Main between 14th and 15th Cross does not have any residences or entrances, other than MES Kishore Kendra. On one side is the MES college and on the other is the wall of Panchavati – both of which have entrances on 15th Cross. The stalls could be moved to this stretch of road and the 10th Main could be closed to traffic between 14th and 14th Cross in the evenings – creating a sort of `Khau Galli’.

As it is not a major road and there are no residences on this stretch, it would cause very minimal inconvenience. On the other hand, it would relieve the congestion on 15th Cross – which is a rather busy road. Since it is hardly 50 metres from the original location, it would not affect the vendors’ livelihood. The footpath will also be cleared of encroachments.

However, if this is implemented, a few points have to be ensured. First, the number of vendors should not be increased – at the most 5 or 6. Second, provision should be made to deal with the garbage that is produced by them in the evening. Third, it is important that the road is closed to traffic – otherwise it would be an extremely unpleasant experience for all concerned. Finally, care should be taken to ensure that no other vendors take over the footpath on 15th Cross.

Let me know what you think about this solution!

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  1. Kishor Gurtu says:

    Nice. The problem is 16th cross has already become a khau-galli of sorts thanks to Sairam Chats and the rest that have followed.

  2. AnonDesi says:

    You have identified the problem correctly. I disagree with your solution though.

    I’d suggest this:
    1) If the road is closed for khau galli business, every cart owner pays BBMP Rs. 500 or Rs.1000 a night.
    2) If there are more than 5 or 6 carts willing to pay up, there has to be a transparent competitive bidding system (openly in public) that selects the winners.
    3) BBMP with the tax, can use it to clear garbage and for road maintenance
    4) Food quality/hygiene requirements set and enforceable by BBMP
    5) Those 6 slots should be up for re-bidding every year.

  3. Ramesh Sreekantan says:

    16th Cross has `formal’ shops. In my opinion it should be closed to traffic between 8th and 10th main as its too narrow for vehicles + people. Of course residents should be allowed.

    The problem with AnonDesi’s suggestion is that this requires the BBMP to be involved. Also – there are certain stalls like `Hot hot Chinese food’ which are quite popular, so if they are not allowed here they will open up elsewhere – or stay on 15th cross and make life worse for the residents. The purpose of this article was to suggest a place to MOVE the EXISTING carts and not add more carts.

  4. David Farris says:

    Ramesh Sreekantan speaks wisdom.

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