With barely three weeks to go for the byelection to the Hebbal Assembly constituency, most parts of this segment in Bengaluru North are beginning to get decked up. Residents are surprised by the newly asphalted roads, paved footpaths, desilted drains and clean surroundings.
Corporators from the BJP, Congress and JD(S), who see this as the last opportunity to please the electorate, are trying to outdo each other in giving the civic infrastructure a much-needed facelift. The byelection to the seat on February 13 has been necessitated by the death of MLA Jagdeesh Kumar last November.
Kiran Kumar of Hebbal Sarovara Residents’ Welfare Association said he was surprised to see a whole lot of developmental work being taken up in the constituency at a frenetic pace. “Roads are being tarred within weeks. Waste, which used to lie uncleared for a week, is being cleared on alternate days. Streets are now well lit,” he said. “I think, it is the election that is spurring them to work,” he reasoned.
However, some residents feel the corporators were going overboard. While Deepak Gowdar, a senior citizen from Anandnagar, said roads that are being asphalted were not in a bad condition, Sayyed Muhammad, an autorickshaw driver in Sanjaynagar, said many roads in the constituency were only asphalted recently. However, Mohan G, a resident of Cholanagar in RT Nagar, said roads that were not tarred for four years were finally being re-surfaced. “Work was halted three days ago due to rain,” he said.
Claiming the fast-paced work was an election gimmick, former police officer and BJP leader Abdul Azeem, who lives in Sanjaynagar, said: “It is a general tendency to speed up work when elections are around. It’s to instil confidence in the electorate that they are active. The government did not bother to fill potholes when it was necessary,” he said.
However, denying the charge, former councillor Anand V claimed that asphalting works were sanctioned in 2013-14. “The development neither party work nor due to the model code of conduct. The work order was issued last year,” he contended. Besides, the election also coincides with the forthcoming Global Investors' Meet to be held in the City, he said.
According to a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) official, as many as 83 works related to asphalting were taken up in 2012 at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore under a special grant provided by the State Government.
However, the Palike was able to clear only 11 works in a year and the grants were frozen since they were not used on time. In the revised grants, works were taken up in 2014 but were postponed due to elections to the BBMP, Legislative Council and due to the monsoon, he said.
“Work of asphalting roads resumed last September, most of which is complete or is in progress. As many as 32 works had to be stopped due to the model code of conduct,” he said.