BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court posed this question to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on Tuesday while observing that most of the inner roads in Bangalore are narrow and allowing for ancillary activities other than residential use could pose serious inconvenience to residents.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna made these observations during the hearing on a public interest litigation petition filed by Citizens’ Action Forum and others in 2008, challenging the Revised Master Plan 2015.
The Bench posed the question when senior counsel D.N. Nanjunda Reddy, appearing for the BDA, submitted to the court that instead of commercial activities, the BDA is proposing to allow only ancillary use of properties in areas classified as residential (main) in the master plan.
Instead of several cases of ancillary use permitted until now, the senior counsel said it was proposed to allow 15 categories of ancillary use (see box) in an area up to 20 per cent of total built up area or 50 sq m, whichever is lower.
He said these proposals would be placed before BDA’s board meeting on January 27 and later sent to the State government for approval.
However, on noticing that permission for ancillary use would be irrespective of the width of the road, unlike at present where ancillary use would depend on the width and size of the plot, the Bench pointed out that road width is an important factor. “We have some reservations about this… Most inner roads [have] 20, 30 or 40 feet width. This is the problem of Bangalore. Why can’t there be a complete moratorium against allowing ancillary use in residential areas?” the Bench asked.
With Mr. Reddy clarifying that ancillary use included lawyers’ offices, the Bench said this would be an instance where parking of cars of lawyers and clients would be an issue on narrow roads. “Even a pan stall of 5 ft x 5 ft can create traffic problems. If something happens, how will fire-fighters reach there?” the Bench wondered.
The Bench adjourned further hearing to January 27 as BDA counsel said the authority would deliberate on the concerns expressed by the court.