Green Makeover! Citizen Turns Street Vendors Haven into Garden
Mangaluru: Once a junction beneath Kulur Flyover on the way to Panambur from Mangaluru, filled with street vendors, fast food carts, and filth has now got an extreme-makeover-thanks to one man’s initiative to turn the hawkers haven into a blooming garden. This man is none other than V G Guruchandra Hegde- a financier and also the president of the Nagarika Hitharakshana Samithi, who worked hard solely to achieve his goal, to convert the messy area below the Kulur flyover into a beautiful garden, along with slogans pertaining on the flyover walls spreading awareness about Cleanliness and green environment. His inspiration and motto to carry out this project is the Swachh Bharat-Swachh Mangaluru theme, and his dream is to beautify Kudla!
VG Guruchandra Hegde-President of Nagarika Hitharakshana Samithi
In between the hustle and bustle of this Kulur junction, where a few shops, banks, restaurants, bars and wine shops, and other petty shops- the junction for years saw hawkers occupying the below portion of the Kulur flyover, where a bunch of food hubs were set up serving the hungry laborers and low-income people. But in the meantime, these hawkers also created lots of inconveniences for citizens and school children to cross the road, and especially women were feeling quite hesitant to walk past these hawkers, when bunch of their customers were gulping the food.
With many complaints pouring in about the inconveniences and hassles caused by these street vendors, and also about the hygienic conditions of these food hubs, and also the garbage scattered all around that area, this man, VG Guruchandra Hegde along with bunch of residents of that area approached the City Corporation and put forth their grievances, to take action and evict these hawkers at the earliest. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Guruchandra said, ” I was not against the hawkers, but I didn’t like the way they were operating their businesses-no proper hygiene, no cleanliness, no standards and manners etc etc. Although we had approached the Mayor and other MCC officials in the month of March 2016, but no one took quick action-instead finally in the month of September 2016, the MCC crew came and evicted these hawkers. In the meantime, I had also sought permission from the highway authorities that once the hawkers move out, I want to create a garden below the flyover, and the NH authorities agreed for my request to form a garden there”.
” Now the question was how to come up with the funds for the expenses to create the garden, so I along with a few members of the Samithi went around and raised nearly Rs 1,07,000. Quickly we started to work on the project- the ground was cleared and interlock bricks were laid, since keeping the area clean was our priority. But the funds that we collected was not sufficient, so I spent another Rs 3 lakhs from my pocket to complete the garden, with a bunch of saplings. I am glad that finally a area of about 1680 square feet which was once a street vendors haven filled with filth and smell, has now been converted into a green garden ” added Guruchandra.
He further said, ” Although I did receive compliments from Mayor Harinath, City Commissioner Mohammed Nazir and other district officials, but it is the public who are happy with this extreme makeover of the area. With the inspiration of Swachh Bharath Abhiyan I still want to carry on with my work, and see that many other areas in the city maintain cleanliness. I have also approached MCC with my idea to create yet another garden under the Kuntikan flyover, also at Surathkal flyover; and if MCC gives a green signal and enough funds are raised I won’t mind creating more such havens of plants and flowers. “
Indeed a very good initiative by Guruchandra, which other citizens need to follow in his footsteps for a greener and cleaner environment. Once a haven of street vendors, Kulur flyover junction looks neat and clean. Also a few auto-rickshaw drivers who regularly park their vehicles in that area have also planted a few flowering plants. So the efforts by Guruchandra and his Samithi members, and also the efforts by these auto-rickshaw drivers have changed the area with a new look. The official inauguration of the Garden by Guruchandra was done on 23 September by Sri Sri Vitaladas Swamiji of Moodbidri Math, Police Commissioner Chandrashekar, Mayor Harinath, Kulur Church Parish Priest Rev Fr Harold D’Souza, Entrepreneur Ajith Malady, Businessman Vajra Kumar K Ballal, Imam of Panjimogaru Masjid, among others.