Sans amenities, there is no 'jeeva' in Rajeev Nagar

Sans amenities, there is no 'jeeva' in Rajeev Nagar

A view of Ashraya colony in Rajeev Nagar near Shaktinagar. DH photos/Author

Most of the men in the family work for daily wages, while some women work as housemaids and others roll beedies or clean fried cashew nuts.

When one fine day, the residents of the colony learnt that they have been sanctioned Rs 35 lakh (Rs 27.42 lakh in 2009-10 and Rs 9.55 lakh during 2010-11) to undertake development works, they were very happy. But till date no development works have taken place in the colony.

A visit to the colony would reveal the truth — There are no drains in the entire colony. As a result, all the houses release the waste water (bath + clothes and dish wash) into the open making the entire region a potential ground for mosquito breeding. “Our pleas to the authorities concerned to construct a drain has fallen on deaf ears,” Devaki, a resident, says and adds that monster-sized mosquitoes suck residents’ blood everyday. “In fact, several people in the colony fall sick quite often,” adds another woman.

Yet another resident said that Corporator Mariamma Thomas has asked the residents to dig a pit so that water can be diverted to pits. “We own(!) 20X30 (600 square feet) land. Since we can’t dig the pit outside our houses (the distance between two houses is hardly 2 to 3 feet), the only option is to dig the pit inside our house. How and where will you dig the pit inside the house,” he questions.

No toilets

Though Dakshina Kannada district has won award for Total Sanitation Drive, several houses in the colony do not have toilets! As the colony is surrounded by ‘forest-like’ area, the toilet-less residents go for open defecation.

Immediate need

The residents’ immediate demand is drains and a water tank. The waste water flows on the street and in some cases, the waste water of one house enters another’s house premises! Interestingly, a house has come up in the land earmarked for construction of water tank.

Waive interest

The residents of the colony were allotted the land about 10 years ago and they were given a sum of Rs 25,000 to construct the house in three installments (Rs 10,000 + Rs 10,000 + Rs 5,000). While some of the residents were promptly paying the installments (Rs 290 a month), some have missed some installments and some others have not paid the money at all. As a result, there are some people who have paid upto Rs 20,000 while some others have paid Rs 10,000 or less. “We have been given a deadline to pay Rs 25,000 before December 31, 2010, so that the interest can be waived,” said another resident Chennabasappa and lamented that those who have been promtly paying the money will suffer while those who did not pay even a single penny, stand to benefit.

Nirmithi Kendra

Showing at an unoccupied house constructed by Nirmithi Kendra (see photo), another resident said that the foundation of the house is so weak that it may collapse at any moment. At the same time, the walls have only sand and very little cement has been used.  “Looking at the pathetic condition of the houses constructed by Nirmithi Kendra, many preferred to construct houses on their own,” says another resident. Meanwhile, Area Corporator Mariamma Thomas who obtained details through RTI Act, said that under Rajiv Gandhi Housing Corporation scheme, the Central government had sanctioned Rs 66.66 lakh for providing basic facilities like road, retaining wall and construction of drains in the Rajeev Nagara colony.

“The reason given for not undertaking the work is objection from the locals, severe shortage of water and heavy rains,” she said and termed the reasons as “very silly.”
On the other hand, when queried with several residents of the colony, they said that there was no question of objection as none have visited the colony so far!

Incidentally, Mariamma Thomas also alleged that Deputy Commissioner’s office itself has made provision for misuse of money by releasing the same when no works have been undertaken in the ward.

Official speaks

When contacted, Nirmithi Kendra Project Director Rajendra Kalbavi said that though the money has been released under Rajeev Gandhi Housing Corporation for construction of drains and roads in the colony, it is “not sufficient.” “More importantly, the people’s main demand is water. Hence, we are planning to construct a water tank first,” he said and added that the work on the same will start after monsoon. When he was told that a house has come up in the space earmarked for tank construction, he said he was not aware. As the government is busy trying to remain in power, will the pleas of Rajeev Nagar residents and many such colonies be heard? Even if they hear, will the thick skinned officials implement the order. Its anybody’s guess.

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