‘Spot the footpath’ contest!

After those Google Earth quizzes, how about a new game!? Try these photos from Gandhi Bazaar, Bangalore, and we will play ‘spot the footpath’.


gb3Veggies and flowers all over the pavement. I didn’t mind the flowers though, welcome break from pollution from the road. Wish they encroach the road itself some day. It would then be so nice to smell the roses on your drive.

gb2There, if you look through the pile of bananas, you can catch a glimpse of the footpath. Such well planned lanes and by-lanes amidst the chaos, I wondered if Harappans were disguising as banana-sellers.

gb5FabMall has competition, right at its doorstep! Fresh vegetables, anyone?

gb6While searching for the missing footpath, I found this neat basement store as well. No, ‘vee’ didn’t ‘pee’ there. But I am willing to bet the space was meant for parking. Sealing drive anyone!?


20 Responses

  1. I really pity for those footpath vendors. Those are poor daily wage earners. They need to give usual “hafta” to police inspectors or Nagarapalike inspectors. Why don’t Nagarapalike build some building in each area like Farmer’s market ?
    I’m sure even if they build one, these poor vendors have to “bribe” and keep happy those inspectors to get space.
    Things are rotten such an extent….corruption/red tapism everywhere….How many more years do we need to improve basic life style of citizens ? Why can’t we take example of Singapore/Malaysia and implement in our country/cities?

  2. Yo NRI,
    in many places in b’lore your so called “Farmer’s market” were constructed long time back. But the vendors don’t go and sell there coz people like to buy it from the footpaths rather than go in to a building and buy it there (unless its a glitzy supermarket ofcourse !). I can give you a couple of examples, one in N.R.Colony and one more in BSK 1st stage. In N.R.Colony the corporation building has been converted into a regular shopping complex coz of lack of interest among the veggie vendors who always prefer to occupy the roads and sell it there inspite of the harassment issues.

  3. Those footpath/roadside vendors just dont like to move from the roadside. There have been many instances wherein the govt. constructed shopping complexes for them so that they can widen/improve the road. But these people never budge. The reason – “We will not get enough business if we move inside a complex..as this will reduce our visibility to the potential customer”. And as a result..they bribe the inspectors to stay put where they are…Thats the sad state of conditions in India. The inspectors are no worse…they are always looking to make money and play both the cards as and when needed.

  4. Reminds me of an incident when I went to Scotland twenty years ago. My fahter’s friend who is an Indian settled there told me how they would joke about cows straying on the Indian roads when we were moving on their express highways. The concerned authorities get into a “cleanliness drive” once in a while and then it is back to status quo again.

  5. NRI, VS (thanks for the examples) has the right answer for you. Breaking the law must attract punishment first. Only then can any solution work. Period.

    Christopher – exactly! They want business on the cheap – prime commercial space, but no rent to pay. And poverty is the excuse. That would be like Airtel wanting to do mobile telephony without paying for the spectrum. Enough of soft stances. Punishment first, creative solutions later. Encouraging encroachments isn’t a good urban-poverty alleviation program in the long-term.

    Hiren – It isn’t exactly about cleanliness or cows. It is more about rampant ‘civic lawlessness’ that is making our so called cities rot and stink.

  6. it’s sad that these small town best practices can become so intolerable and, in many cases, even a nuisance in big cities.

    good job SB.
    BTW nice catch on the basement shop ;)

  7. SB – Beware, in a democratic country like India, direct punishments will unite all the like people (in this case the roadside vendors) and they will resort to bandhs/protests and soon some vote hungry politician, eager to impress the aam janta, will show solidarity with them. This has been the case so far.

    But, looks like the Supreme Court has clamped its foot down in Delhi. I just hope Delhi will serve as an example for other cities to follow. But it sounds wierd that the Supreme court has to do this and not the local administration who should be doing this. But with the local administration being deeply infected with corruption and also a puppet in the hands of the “greedy” politicians, this seems to be the only solution.

  8. I totally agree with Silkboard. Punishment first, creative solutions later. It’s become a norm here that people squat on prime land, slums and illegal construction come up and then when officials finally wake up, there is a hue and cry over displacement and demands are made to legalize all illegal structure. And our short sighted, vote bank seeking politicians oblige them! Just look at Delhi.
    I hope the sealing drive starts here in bangalore too. And even the CNG drive, as in Delhi.

  9. Christopher said: “But it sounds wierd that the Supreme court has to do this and not the local administration who should be doing this. But with the local administration being deeply infected with corruption and also a puppet in the hands of the “greedy” politicians, this seems to be the only solution. ”

    Couldn’t be more true.
    Local admin. has been consciously made like that by their political masters. It serves them well. By ensuring that job-continuity, promotions in Public Administration (which is no ordinary job – its an enabler function) are based NOT on your work – but your place of birth, affiliation and such… its not going to improve easily.

  10. Silkboard, do you know from how long the “market has been there in gandhibazar? As far as I know this has been a market since some 30-40 yrs. The pavement hawkers were there ages before the Fab mall came up (as an example here). So technically all the other glitzy buildings that came up around encroached upon their land and affected their business. So do you think these hawkers must be evicted coz they can’t afford the costly space of the big super market?
    In the name of progress and development should the age old practices be done with and change the basic fabric of our society? So guys think a bit before you start talking about sealing drives / clearing footpaths etc.. unless ofcourse you believe that progress/development aping the US of A.

    PS: I do agree with you that the basement shops must be removed.

  11. Even punishment may not solve the problem here. Poilce may take them to station and they will get bail. They will again bribe some money to Police inspector. Again they will setup shops on footpath…So the cycle continues. I’m talking reality here.
    So we need to start cleaning the system from root level…like suspending the inspector/officer if he/she takes bribe.
    I think corruption/RESERVATION are main problem in India right now!

    Let us fight against CORRUPTION/RESERVATION before we even talk about punishing these poor foothpath vendors. I’m with footpath vendors.

    One more side note: How long we are planning to keep reservation system in India? SB.. why don’t you start some thread regarding that.

  12. I am apalled by the justifications offered on behalf of the ‘poor’ footpath vendors. Yes, they are victimized by the stakeholders – cops, corporation wallahs, the shopowners and the mafia. Will you allow the ‘poor’ footpath vendor to set up base in front of your house or inside ur compound? As long as it is public property, anything goes, till it reaches (y)our doorstep. If the ‘poor’ footpath vendor misbehaves/teases (or worse rapes) a lady who was buying vegetables, will you still pardon him ? Pl. look at it objectively and understand that the LAW has to be respected irrespective of the ‘mitigating circumstances’. Otherwise this will also go the ‘Ram Jethmalini way’ if you have been following a very famous case recently. Amen.

  13. I don’t understand how we can equate orderliness with USA. What is lacking is orderliness. Its not just USA….for that matter Singapore, New Zealand…etc.. even China(atleast Shanghai – their showcase city) have much better cities than India.

  14. Engaging discussion here, and I do have a lot to say. But a bit busy traveling right now. but I will be back with a fitting reply or a full post for the champions of poverty and socialism :)

  15. Long long ago when bangalore was just a small city, Gandhi Bazar market was a treat to the eyes. I agree even then vendors were on footpath.. but it was not too much of a hinderance becasue it was a small city with small number of people and everybody coexisted without troubles. But now things have changed, and so this also needs to change. When we can have multi level parking lots why not a multi level market? It might be bit difficult in the beginning, but I am sure everybody will adjust eventually! It’s our adamant nature not to change which causes all the problems!

    We rave endlessly about foreign cities, but when it comes to making our city that way we get into a major fight :)

  16. VS, Christopher, friends, saying no to encroachments does not mean not caring for the ‘poor’ hawkers. They should be provided space in some fair just and legal ways. The guys claiming the pavements are the ones that have more muscles than others. Only the ones that know how to bribe various folks manage to find space there. How about the rest who were beaten out of the place, who cares for them?

    Separate farmer’s market (like BMP is trying already). Or keep fixed times for a fresh produce market right there on those pavements by marking half width for the purpose. And sell space on a lottery basis. Or force Fabmalls to preferentially train and employ these folks. I am no urban planner, so I am sure there are more creative ways.

    There are ways to do this without promoting lawlessness, corruption and muscle power. Simple as that.

    As Shark says, things need to change, and changes are not easy to implement. Little pain and lots of gain. Socialism or shady past/history is no excuse for not following the laws of the land. Either amend them or implement them.

  17. as long as there is no pavement dwellers… i am cool with having some flowers, pirated dvds and vegetables on the footpath

  18. Pegasus – thanks for dropping by. Truly temporary shops (no trace left after 8 pm!) while leaving some space for us to walk around, who minds that?

  19. what i mind is that the pavements are not in a level…. walking on that is like climbing up and down the steps all along

  20. […] its easy to see how these guys can manage to survive and match the big guys. Imagine a redone Gandhinagar shopping area with all the very “Indian” hustle bustle but none of the old world chaos. Chaos as in […]

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