Lodge owners don’t grumble even as metro machines rumble

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Evacuation of five lodges is a precautionary measure: BMRCL

In the chaos of the city market, five “lodges”, the area’s characteristic multi-storeyed buildings for decades, stand silent. Their owners are not complaining though they have been told to keep the lodges unoccupied. Seventy feet below their properties, Namma Metro’s tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) drill their way through the earth under one of the most congested and densely populated parts of the city.

The owners of the lodges — Roshan, Navrang, Kanakadurga Plaza, Latheef and Sons, and City Hamam — come every few hours to check. Their buildings have been evacuated for varying periods, from a week to two months.

Imtiaz, brother of the owner of Roshan Lodge, seated inside a locked-up building, waves to visitors telling them not to enter the building. He said, “There is no problem, we are getting the cheque on time.”

While Mr. Imtiaz gets paid Rs. 9,000 per day, for the lodge and two shops below it, Narayan, writer of Navrang Lodge, said owners were not unhappy with the arrangement made by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRL) to compensate what they otherwise would have earned had the lodge been functioning. Between the buildings on the narrow street with lodges on either side, four planks of mild steel (MS) lie on the ground providing a safe passage for people to walk on. The two TBMs, Krishna and Kaveri, are boring in the same direction but in two tunnels, below the buildings. They connect Vani Vilas Station to Chickpet Station.

V.K. Balu, owner of Kanakadurga Plaza Lodge, said he was relieved when he was told his structure need not be demolished. That was five years ago, when he was shown a map of how the metro would move below his property. However, he said he could feel the vibrations as the tunnel bored through the earth under his building. “They should have done all this 15 to 20 years ago,” he said.

While BMRCL supervisors are present throughout the day, the lodge owners said BMRCL staff undertook surveys every day to see if the ground was affected in any way.

A source in BMRCL said the evacuation of the lodges was a precautionary measure to prevent cracks in the buildings and safeguard lives of people.

The source said, “It is one of the toughest stretches till it reaches the Chickpet Station for tunnelling since there is a mixed ground condition — soft soil, rocks, weathered rocks and water.”

Acknowledging the tough conditions in Chickpet area, Managing Director of BMRCL Pradeep Singh Kharola said that the tunnelling was behind schedule by a few months. “Both TBMs are facing problems.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, after inaugurating the satellite bus station at Peenya on Thursday, said Namma Metro’s Phase 1 would be completed by March 2015, while work on Rs. 26,000 -crore Phase 2 had begun.
(The Hindu)

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