The Wailing Wall Paintings of Bangalore

IBN Bangalore Apr 24, 2012 at 12:19pm IST

BANGALORE: Have you noticed the colourful and meaningful paintings on many walls of the city, depicting the history of the state, the tradition and culture of Kannadigas or tourist havens of Karnataka? May be or may not be. But do try to spare a glance as they are now in a state of utter neglect and fading glory.

Way back in 2009, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) came up with a unique solution of painting the city walls to eradicate a plethora of problems like littering,urinating, and defacement by film and propaganda posters. The initiative not only aimed at promoting folk art, history and culture of Karnataka but also provided employment to local artists. The irony today is, three years has elapsed, the initiative that was the brain child of the former BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, is witnessing total negligence on the part of officials as far the maintenance is concerned. Off late, the paintings in various parts of the city has faded and have even started peeling off.

The project was implemented by companies involved in painting banners and posters and was done at the rate of Rs 25 per sq ft. The beautification process that garnered huge support as well as criticism from different sections of the society kickstarted on August 15, 2009 on prime locations of the city. Scenes from mythology, temples of Hampi, Pattadakal are still visible on the boundary wall of Lalbagh, while reflecting the State’s vibrant culture are on the Airport Road. In schools and colleges, the walls are painted with educative and patriotic messages, pictures of animals at Bannerghatta Road are just a few of the beautifully created paintings that one can see in the city walls today.

Exquisite, it was only three years ago, however, talk about the maintenance of wall paintings with the concerned authorities, they will leave you in a confused state of affairs, as contradictory statements emerged from different officials.

When City Express contacted Chief Engineer (West zone) B T Ramesh, this is what he had to say: "Annually, to the tune of `10 or 20 lakh has been year earmarked to each zone to work on renovating of the wall paintings. Tenders are still to be invited by the concerned zonal officers and after that work will kick start." Confirming on the estimated figure, the BBMP PRO said, "10 lakh has been dedicated for each zone to work on the wall paintings." However, when City Express contacted the designated zonal officers, contradictory statements emerged. When enquired on the funds and the commencement of the work, the Joint Commissioner of South Hemchandra said, "As per my knowledge, nothing has been done on this issue. But I will take up the issue with my department."

Voicing a similar opinion, the Additional Joint Commissioner of East Zone, Shankar Patil said, "I had a talk with my Chief Engineer and he informed me that no funds has been sanctioned for the purpose." The same response also came from Shiv Shankar, the Joint Commissioner of East Zone. "In my zone, only the ward office has murals which can be renovated by pooling money among ourselves," said Bommanahali Joint Commissioner.