COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR MYSORE CITY
The recent announcements regarding the framing of a long term comprehensive development plan for Mysore City and its adjoining areas is a welcome development which will prevent the city from going the Bangalore way which has witnessed chaotic growth over the past several decades and today faces insurmountable problems.
There is an immediate requirement for a sound and well conceived Long Term Development Plan for Mysore City in order to achieve the twin objectives of preserving its rich artistic and cultural past and cater to the future modern day requirements.
The following are some suggestions which if considered while framing a long term policy will help in achieving the above objectives.
- BACKGROUND OF THE CITY
The history and cultural background of the city is well known and needs no elaboration. The city is famous for its various palaces, lakes, gardens, heritage buildings, the Chamundi Hills, KRS Dam, etc. Many other tourist spots are also located within a short distance from the city like Srirangapatna, Nanjangud, etc.
The city was one of the first to have a City Improvement Trust for the orderly growth and development of the city which ensured the formation of new extensions, parks, gardens, with tree lined streets and water and sanitation facilities.
- PRESENT CONSTRAINTS,DRAWBACK AND DEFECIENCIES
The growth in population and the increase in industrial activity in and around Mysore have put tremendous pressure on the infrastructure facilities available in the city. Added to this the non implementation of various rules and regulations both by the citizens and the civic authorities has resulted in a chaotic situation. The following highlights the present scenario:
The existing residential houses available for the present level of population though seems to be adequate may not present a true picture. With the projected growth in the population the scarcity of dwelling units is bound to aggravate.
However a paradoxical situation exists as far as the demand for residential sites is concerned. With the Urban authority unable to form new layouts the number of official sites has come down steeply while the number of aspirants for sites has kept growing. Simultaneously we can find that there are a large number of vacant sites which were allotted even several decades back.
Further houses for rent are not available according to the affordability of the different strata of the society.
ROADS AND TRAFFIC
The past several years has witnessed tremendous growth of private vehicles like two and four wheelers. The existing roads have not been planned to take such huge traffic. The increase in number of vehicles has put severe strain on the available road space for parking the vehicles also. The haphazard parking also causes hurdles in the movement of vehicles. It is also observed that many of the old residential houses do not have enough parking spaces and hence the citizens park their vehicles either on the roads or the available footpaths. The civic authorities have resorted to widening of several roads which has severely curtailed the pedestrian footpath space forcing the people to walk on the roads posing risks to their lives as well as hindering the smooth flow of traffic.
In keeping with the demand the State Transport authorities have also steeply increased the number of city buses. The growth of industrial, commercial and trade activities have also resulted in the growth of commercial transport vehicles of all sizes and shapes adding to the traffic chaos.
In the entire city there are only very few double roads which cater to the smooth flow of two way traffic. Further in many places there being no parallel roads the conversion of the roads into one way roads has also proved difficult.
In short the existing roads are insufficient to cater to the present day requirement for movement of public transport buses, private vehicles, commercial goods vehicles as well as the pedestrians. This will further worsen in the future with the growth in population and the increase in the number of vehicles.
The increase in population and the industrial activity has put a huge strain on the existing water supply potential and there is a serious shortage of safe drinking water even to the existing population. There is need to augment the supply sources at the same time to prevent misuse and wastage.
Digging of Bore Wells in private properties should not be permitted. They should be dug by the public authorities only for the benefit of the general public so that the available ground water is used for the common good only.
The existing sources of supply seem to be inadequate to meet the demands. Due to several flaws in the distribution systems there is a huge theft of power as well as transmission losses.
Markets, Parks, Playgrounds, Clearing and disposal of garbage, Providing Safety and Security, Health Care and a host of other services are all much below the required standards and expectations of the citizens.
- OBJECTIVES FOR THE FUTURE
- THE City should be governed by a CHARTER and a set of RULES AND BYE LAWS which should be framed after a thorough discussion by the experts and the citizens.
The CHANDIGARH MODEL could be taken as a base document and suitably modified.
The Charter once accepted should not be subject to change except in very exceptional circumstances.
The Charter and the Rules and Bye Laws have to be strictly followed and adhered to by all.
There should be no scope for permitting deviations or for approval/ condoning of violations.
- The Comprehensive Development Plan could be broadly divided into three segments:
- Maintenance of all the Heritage Buildings and their surroundings
- Providing better and improved facilities in the existing layouts
- Proper planning of the New layouts
- MAINTENANCE OF HERITAGE BUILDINGS
The City has a number of Heritage Buildings like Palaces, Markets, Bungalows, and Parks etc. all over the City. While some of them are well maintained many are in a dilapidated condition due to neglect and poor maintenance. The surroundings of many of the famous buildings, which are frequented by Indian and Foreign tourists, have become an eyesore due to commercialization and indiscriminate constructions.
A suitable Authority could be set up to maintain and manage all the Heritage Buildings with adequate administrative and legal powers.
Expert advice should be taken to restore the structures which require urgent repairs/strengthening.
The surrounding areas should be cleared of all in- appropriate structures and well maintained gardens should be developed to enhance the beauty of the buildings. Adequate parking and other civic facilities should be provided and maintained properly.
Information about the structures should be displayed in the building itself and should also be available in the form of well designed brochures/ booklets.
Several of the Markets and shopping centers have the tag of Heritage Buildings. However most of them are in a state of total disrepair due to years of negligence and improper maintenance. Some of the structures have collapsed and even caused deaths and injuries to people using them. Conservationists want these structures to remain as such and a debate is going on. However considering that these are not mere Museum pieces but regularly being used by the traders and the Public to carry on business activities it will be desirable to bring down the structures to avoid further loss of lives and damage to property. New structures can be created as suggested in the ensuing paragraphs.
E CONSERVATION OF CHAMUNDI HILLS
The Chamundi Hills is a unique landmark of the City of Mysore and its surrounding areas. It has a Religious and Cultural significance because of the Temples atop the hills and at the foothills with rich historical and religious legends and folklore. Apart from the religious significance it is also an important place of bio diversity with rich flora and fauna. However the hills as well as the areas at the foot hills have been very much neglected and have seen much destruction of the rich flora and fauna and loss of beauty because of unbridled constructions in the name of development and improvements. Several decades back a well conceived plan to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of the hills and its foothills in the form of a buffer zone was mooted. Unfortunately it was never taken up seriously and the foothills today look so ugly and unsightly because various agencies, both public and private, have converted it for commercial purposes.
The Hills should be declared as a Biological Reserve. Necessary legislation could be enacted for this purpose. No further development should be allowed atop or on the foot hills. All buildings and structures which are not in keeping with the scenic beauty of the hills should be removed.
At the foot hills an area of at least 2 Kms from the base should be declared as Reserve Forests. All existing buildings and structures should be removed.
The bio diversity both on the hills as well as at the foot hills should be preserved and enhanced.
A pathway could be developed all along the base of the hills which could be used by people to go around the hills- known in religious terms as ‘CIRCUMAMBULATION’. Further this pathway could also be used to conduct a walking, running and cycle Marathons during the Mysore Dasara Festivities.
The Hills attract a large number of visitors all through the year posing severe traffic problems as well as parking constraints atop the hills. It is suggested that movement of all private vehicles atop the hills could be banned. A suitable parking space can be earmarked at the foothills from where people could be transported up the hills in Electrically operated vehicles. This will reduce air and noise pollution. Further the frequency of these vehicles can be so regulated that there is no need for people to wait at the temple for Darshan. Further these vehicles could be run on hop in and hop out system so that people can stay on the hills as long as they want to enjoy the scenic beauty.
All the commercial shops on top of the hills should be relocated to the base parking area.
A recent proposal to construct a Ropeway to reach the top of the hills should be totally rejected and shelved as the existing road is quite good and convenient and should be further strengthened and improved to take care of the above suggestion.
During the rains a number of streams flow down the hills. Due to blockages of their natural courses there have been several instances of landslips and rock falls. Hence all such blockages should be cleared and the streams enabled to reach their natural catchment areas at the foot hills.
F THE K.R.MARKET AND SURROUNDING AREAS
The Krishna Raja Market at the heart of the city is a unique historical structure. It is unique because it was conceived as a Centralised Marketing Complex almost a 100 year back so that the people could buy all their needs like vegetables, groceries, textiles and various other requirements from a single place. It should be appreciated that this was developed much before the present day Mall culture came into existence. It is a place where hundreds of traders do their business and thousands of citizens visit it to purchase their needs. However due to prolonged neglect and improper maintenance by the authorities it is in a very dilapidated condition and several portions crashed down and the whole structure has become very dangerous for both the traders and the citizens. Recently another landmark building, the Lansdowne building, caused the death of a person when a portion of it collapsed.
Though the KR Market, the Lansdowne building and some other structures are public properties the area also has several private buildings which are also in a state of disrepair. Further the area contains small roads, lanes and bye lanes which have made the place very congested, dirty and unhygienic.
When we have to take a long term perspective for the city it would not be sufficient if merely a tinkering repair is done to the existing structures. Hence the following is suggested:
- The entire area starting from the Chamarajendra Double Road (even we can start from the Vani vilas Market in Agrahara) in the South to Irwin Road and beyond and upto St.Philomena’s Church in the North; from JLB / Dewans Road in the West to Ashoka Road/ Bangalore Mysore Road in the East has to be considered as the CENTRAL BUSINESS SECTOR.
- An intensive survey of all the existing properties, their areas, owners and occupants and nature of business carried on has to be conducted.
- The City bus stand has to be shifted to another place as suggested later on in this paper.
- A comprehensive plan for the entire area is to be drafted incorporating the latest technology with underground parking spaces, drainage systems, tree lined roads and buildings designed to retain the architectural heritage at the same time having all modern amenities. The areas could be divided into specific sectors for particular items like an area for vegetables and fruits, an area for selling meat and other non vegetarian products, an area for textiles and clothing, an area for jewelers, hardware, electronic goods, so on and so forth. Areas for Banks, Offices, hotels, restaurants, post offices, cinemas, etc are also to be earmarked
- In a phased manner the existing occupants are to be shifted to temporary accommodations and all dilapidated structures like the KR Market, Lansdowne building etc and the private properties should be demolished and new constructions as per the comprehensive plan should be constructed.
- In the Sayyaji Rao Road starting from the KR Circle up to Bamboo Bazar junction all the buildings should have wide balconies facing the road which could be used during the Dasara Procession to provide seating arrangements for the tourists to watch the procession.
- The entire area could be made traffic free and movement within the area could be by electrically operated vehicles. Movement of buses and other private vehicles passing through the area could be by elevated flyovers with connections to the underground parking areas in the sector.
- The entire area should be well maintained with dedicated personnel and modern equipments to keep it clean and tidy.
- BUS STANDS
Presently there are three bus stands in the city- the City Bus Stand near the KR Circle adjoining the Palace, theMoffusil Bus Stand on the Bangalore Mysore Road and the Private Bus Stand near the Railway Station. The city and moffusil bus stands were recently rebuilt. However even within a short time they have proved to be inadequate due to faulty design and planning.
Both the bus stands have to be shifted to another bigger location so that the future growth requirements are taken care of. The only space which is within the city and large enough is the present exhibition grounds and the lands adjacent to it. The exhibition buildings have to be shifted to another place as suggested later in this paper. The area should include the present exhibition grounds, the football ground used for parking vehicles and other properties towards the ZOO. The entire area is to be properly leveled and adequate drainage provided to prevent water logging. Both the city and moffusil bus stands should be well planned and inter connected with provision for underground parking facilities. Roads with minimum of two lanes on all sides should be developed so that the entry and exits are smooth and free flow of traffic is ensured.
The present moffusil bus stand can be used by the private bus and cab operators.
G .1. EXHIBITION GROUNDS
In view of the above suggestion the present Exhibition Grounds need to be shifted to some other place on the outskirts of the city. This could be developed like the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi so that it is not only used during the Dasara Festivities but could be used all through the year to hold other exhibitions, conventions etc.
- PROVIDING BETTER AND IMPROVED FACILITIES IN EXISTING AREAS/LAYOUTS
The existing areas have many advantages like:
- Tree lined roads,
- Big bungalow sites and bungalows with their own gardens
- Good parks
The existing areas also have many disadvantages like:
- The roads are very narrow and are not capable of taking the present day traffic
- Many of the houses are built on small sites and do not have parking space within the houses. Hence people park their vehicles on the roads further hampering the free flow of traffic.
- Many of the roads have been widened but this has reduced the foot path space posing problems for the pedestrians. Many of the roads do not have space for widening also.
- Indiscriminate permission has been given by the authorities to convert residential sites into commercial sites and also many house owners either convert the garages into shops or construct shops in front of their houses. This has resulted in huge movement of people on the narrow roads, haphazard parking of vehicles adding to congestion and chaos on the roads. Most of the commercial complexes either do not have parking space or even if one is there in the basement they are used for commercial purposes instead for parking vehicles.
- The sewerage and water supply lines are very old.
- The storm water drains are clogged resulting in flooding of many areas during rains.
- The roads should be properly laid with standard materials so that they allow smooth flow of traffic and also last longer.
- Wherever two way flow of traffic is hindered due to the road being narrow they should be converted into one way roads with nearby parallel roads.
- All the busy roads where there is heavy traffic movement should be provided with medians at least at short intervals so that it helps people to cross the roads safely.
- Vehicles should not be parked on the roads or the footpaths but should be parked only inside the premises.
- Footpaths should be cleared of all obstructions like shops, encroachment by site owners, vendors, parking of vehicles, dustbins, etc.
- New sewerage pipes should be laid which will take the present day load particularly where huge multistoried commercial and residential buildings have come up.
- New water supply pipes should be laid to prevent leakage and pilferage.
- Underground Electric cables should be laid so that the ugly overhead lines are removed. This will reduce disruption in electricity supply due to falling of tree branches and snapping of wires due to rain or storms. Further it will prevent pilferage of electricity which is rampant today.
- Proper street lighting should be provided.
- Communication cables also should be laid underground
- Dedicated underground channels/tubes should be provided to all the sites so that all electric, water, telephone lines from the main source can be run through them without need to frequently cut the roads.
- The practice of permitting shops/commercial establishments practically in every house or site should be stopped immediately. Even where commercial complexes have been built by the authorities it is observed that they are not fully occupied whereas every house in the vicinity has been converted into a shop. Hence these complexes should be properly maintained and made attractive to traders to set up shops at reasonable rents. If necessary the surrounding areas should be acquired to expand the facilities including sufficient parking spaces. All shops in the area should be shifted to this complex and no commercial establishments should be permitted in residential sites. Such complexes should be set up at every 1.5 to 2 km so that people can have access to all their routine basic daily necessities within a short distance from their homes.
- Wherever commercial complexes have come up in residential areas their basement and ground floor spaces should be compulsorily converted into parking spaces for the general public by collecting charges if
- All existing trees should be protected and should not be cut unless absolutely necessary. New trees should be planted wherever possible.
- Parks and gardens should be well maintained all through the year.
- All new constructions should be strictly in accordance with the revised set off rules and Floor Space ratios.
- Citizen should organize themselves into welfare societies for every 10 to 15 roads which will ensure cleanliness of the area and maintenance of parks and other civic facilities.
- The storm water drains and the major drainage channels should be cleared of all muck and where ever necessary their levels should be redesigned to enable free flow of water and they should be led to nearby lakes and storage points.
- All the lakes should be properly maintained and sewerage water should not be allowed to enter them.
- Proper and adequate measures should be taken to dispose of sewerage and garbage.
- It may be necessary to acquire a few buildings in each locality and convert them into multistoried parking spaces to avoid parking on roads and footpaths.
- Probably it would be much simpler to adopt the new growth model suggested above even in existing areas and have the areas redeveloped.
BUS TRANSPORT SYSTEM
- There is a need to rationalize the bus routes. Some of the areas are well connected with bus services but there are several areas including old residential areas where the frequency of bus services is very poor.
- The route numbers should also be properly redesigned so that commuters are able to identify the routes easily.
- The bus stops should also be reorganized so that they are neither too near nor too far apart.
- The bus stops should not be near the corners of road junctions or traffic signals as they tend obstruct free flow of traffic as well as hinder the passengers from getting down or getting into the bus.
- Bus shelters should be properly built and maintained with indications as to which route numbers will stop at the bust stop.
- Buses should be run on wide roads and wherever adjacent parallel roads are available they should be made to run in one direction in one road and in the opposite direction in the other road.
- Apart from the central bus stand there are no bus stands in the extensions. Sufficient space should be found in the extensions so that mini bus stands are built with proper parking space, shelters and civic facilities both for the public as well as the bus running staff.
- Buses should be run between important extensions directly without passing through the Central Bus Stand.
- Connectivity to the Railway Station from many of the new areas is to be improved.
- DEVELOPMENT OF NEW LAYOUTS
The present model of development involves the acquisition of agricultural or other lands to form layouts with roads and other facilities and creation of sites of various dimensions to be sold to individual citizens for construction of their houses. Similarly several areas are developed for setting up industries. This model of development needs a critical relook due to the following drawbacks.
DRAW BACKS OF EXISTING HORIZONTAL GROWTH MODEL
- Large areas of agricultural land have to be acquired for formation of new layouts thus reducing the green cover in and around the city.
- After allocation of areas for development of various civic facilities like roads, drains, parks etc only about 50% of the land acquired is available for formation of sites.
- The time taken for acquisitions and formation of lay outs has been very long due to legal and administrative problems. Thus it is found that people have been waiting for several years, even decades, to get a site allotted by the MUDA. And since the demand outstrips the available sites many citizens remain frustrated in their goal to possess a site even after waiting for decades.
- In contrast it is also seen that sites which were allotted several years back are still vacant without the owners constructing houses.
- This situation has created a severe shortage of dwellings units for different strata of society.
- The horizontal growth demands huge investments in the form of roads, water supply lines, sewerage lines, electric lines which would be spread over a wide area compared to the number of dwelling units serviced.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A NEW GROWTH MODEL:
- The policy of allotting sites to individuals should be stopped.
- Sites should be allotted only to registered co-operative housing societies formed by individuals.
- The new areas should be developed keeping in view the Long Term Plan and the Charter and Bye-Laws.
- The City should be extended on a linear basis say from Srirangapatna to Nanjangud .
- Provision should be made for laying a Double Line Electrified Railway Track along the identified route.
- Adjoining to this Railway track and running parallel to it a 4 way road with median and pedestrian facilities is to be provided on either side of the track. Dedicated lanes for Buses should be provided.
- Railway stations can be provided at distances of 3 or 4 Kms with Bus Stations adjoining them and should have sufficient parking space.
- Residential Blocks should be developed on either side of the railway stations for a distance of 3 to 4 Sq.Kms.
- Every Block should have a Commercial Complex at its centre which will have sufficient parking place. This should have shops for all the requirements of the community like groceries, vegetables, textiles, stationery, books, post office, electrical, plumbing, Banks, hotels, medical shop, etc. etc. A lane could also be earmarked for hawkers and push cart vendors who can sell their goods during specific times.
- Within every Block there should be a double lane road connecting the Bus Stand at the Railway Station to the Commercial complex and the residential area. No resident should have to go beyond 1km to catch a bus.
- Shops and commercial establishments should not be permitted in any other place and residences.
- Roads should be wide with proper pedestrian space and drainage.
- Trees should be planted within the residential sites only. No trees should be planted on the streets.
- Thus the streets can be lighted with minimum of light bulbs and maximum illumination.
- All service lines like water, electricity, sewerage, communication cables should be underground. Connections to individual plots should be by dedicated lines from the main lines so that repeated cutting of roads is avoided.
- Sufficient space should be provided to servicing agencies to install power transformers, water tanks, etc so that no footpath space is occupied by these equipments.
- Every Block should have space for Schools which will cater up to the primary level. Schools /colleges for higher levels could be provided for every two or three blocks.
- All children should invariably be admitted only to the local school up to the primary level. This will avoid children travelling long distances by bus etc. which adds to unnecessary traffic congestions across the city.
- Sufficient space should be provided for parks and play grounds in each block.
- The topography of the area should be properly utilised. If there is a natural valley it should be used to collect the rain water and form a lake so that the ground water is recharged. The lake and its surroundings should be well maintained so that it becomes a recreation spot.
- Purified water should be supplied for drinking and other domestic needs only. For other purposes like gardening etc. treated recycled water could be supplied. Private bore wells should not be permitted to be drilled in individual plots.
- For every 3 or 4 blocks provision should be made for hospitals and nursing homes.
- Space should be earmarked for other facilities like Police Station, Civic Offices, Fire Station, Electricity, water, and sewerage maintenance and service stations.
- Proper collection of garbage and waste from every plot should be arranged and their proper recycling and disposal should be ensured.
- All Residential Plots should be of say 100’x100’ or 100’x120’ size.
- Plots should be allotted to only Co-operative housing Societies who are registered with the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The Societies will have only as many individuals as members as the number of houses to be built in the plot. Every Society should have its own Rules and Bye-laws based on a model draft to be approved by the Registrar.
- The buildings should be built strictly as per the set off and FSR norms as per the City’s Charter.
- The number of Floors should be restricted to only 3 or 4 so that the City’s ambience is maintained as a Heritage City.
- Parking Spaces should be provided invariably either in the basement or in the ground floor.
- The buildings should also be designed to have an aesthetic look in the front. The set off spaces should be used for growing trees and a well maintained garden.
- The bye-laws of the society should provide for the periodical upkeep and maintenance of the building by all the members of the Society.
- Clusters of Housing Societies in the Street should form a LOCAL AREA COMMITTEE which will liaise with the civic authorities for proper maintenance of the area and to solve any problems.