Changing Face of Brookefields

Changing Face of Brookefields

by Pravir Bagrodia

Bengaluru, 10-Jul-2015: Whitefield in the nineties encompassed Inner Circle, Outer Circle, Borewell Road, ECC Road, Immadihalli Road, besides the Main Road from Varthur Kodi to Hope Farm. Even when the term was stretched, it meant going to MVJ College, Ujjaval Vidyalaya, BSNL Complex or Whitefield Railway Station (technically located in Kadugodi, Bengaluru 560067). Today, the term loosely refers to wards 82–85 of Mahadevapura BBMP Zone, and sections of other four wards, too.

In the fifth part of this series, we move from older parts of Whitefield to Kundalahalli, also referred to as Brookefields. From what we gather, the name was coined as a blend of Brooke (from Brooke Bond) and Fields (from Whitefield). In a strange twist of fate, residents today are bonding over cups of chai or coffee to save the brooks (stream of fresh water) in the vicinity.

Brookefields was set up when Brooke Bond India shifted its base from Kolkata in the eighties. When Hindustan Lever (later Hindustan Unilever) acquired Brooke Bond, the campus became the base for HUL’s foods business, but most of that business was moved to Mumbai in 2006. Earlier this year, the premises changed hands and may become an SEZ.

(In parallel, the company’s research centre on Whitefield Main Road near Varthur Kodi has expanded. Old-timers and bus conductors continue to refer to the area housing the research centre as Brooke Bond.)

When I first travelled from Kundalahalli Gate on the narrow, serpentine road in the early nineties, this campus stood out for being a rare cement structure amid open fields and green surroundings. At Graphite India, the scene changed. Going straight led to the industrial area dotted with small and big factories; going right was the way to International Tech Park Bangalore (ITPB), then known as Information Technology Park Limited (ITPL).

As more people started to work at ITPB (aka ITPL), one could see many more vehicles on this path, so much so that it was tagged informally as ITPL Road. ITPL first got attention among Bangaloreans when it hosted the first, and ordinary people like us were allowed to enter its hallowed precincts. In later years, as ITPB stood out like a mascot to project Bengaluru as the Silicon Plateau, Whitefield Road (not to be mistaken with Whitefield Main Road) between KR Puram and Hope Farm was unofficially renamed as ITPL Main Road.

The late nineties also saw the emergence of AECS Layout. The big change, of course, came with the establishment of Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB). The rest, as they say, is history.

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Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is once again trying to redevelop its landmark Brookefields property in Whitefield, Bangalore.