Lots of lung space, but lots of problems

Lots of lung space, but lots of problems

Janaspandana: Residents of Chickpet Assembly segment speak up at DH-Prajavani event

Lots of lung space, but lots of problems

The plight of Saravana underscores the pathetic state of affairs in and around KR Market and Kalasipalyam.

Saravana, in his 30s, had come to take part in ‘Janaspandana-Citizens for Change’, a civic grievance redress programme organised by DH and Prajavani on Saturday, to narrate his plight.

A few weeks ago, while Saravana was walking on the footpath of the heavily congested Avenue Road, a slab gave way and he fell in the drain below. He broke his toes and sprained his legs. “There is no one in the BBMP to answer who is responsible for my condition and whom should I sue. I am paying the price for the BBMP’s mistake,” he said.

A year ago, the BBMP sanctioned Rs 8 crore for improving the road and footpaths in Kalasipalyam, Avenue Road and KR Market but the contractor colluded with the civic body’s engineer and tried to squander the money. Timely revelation prompted the BBMP to block the payment. Since then, the road and footpaths in the area have gone from bad to worse.

Local corporator Prathibha’s husband Dhanaraj stood up to respond to Saravana, but angry citizens silenced him and sought an answer from the corporator herself. Several traders from Avenue Road were also in the audience.

Chickpet MLA R V Devaraj intervened and promised to ensure that the footpaths would be improved soon. He also promised to foot Saravana’s medical bills.

The Chickpet Assembly segment, though dotted with landmark lung spaces such as Lalbagh, Madhavan Park and M N Krishna Rao Park, faces plenty of problems. Located right in the middle of the city, the constituency has 68 slums, the most for any Assembly segment in Karnataka.

Some of the problems here are choked underground drains, poor footpaths, potholed roads in and around Kalasipalyam, parking woes, stray dogs and water shortage.

H S Sathyamurthy, a resident of Wilson Garden 8th Cross, complained that the Cauvery water pipeline on BTS Road had broken and the drainage work had stopped midway for unknown reasons. “The drain is clogged and overflows every now and then. We want a permanent solution,” he said.

Devaraj replied that the water pipelines were very old and had not been repaired for the past 50 years. “We are now laying a new water and sewerage line in the area. Rs 4 crore has been sanctioned for the work,” he said.

Dr Mohammad Imran, a resident of Wilson Garden, stressed the need for CCTV cameras in Wilson Garden to keep tabs on anti-social elements. He also complained about courier companies parking their vehicles on the road, leading to traffic congestion. He demanded a crackdown on these companies. Devaraj directed the traffic police to ensure the illegal parking was stopped.

Dr Raghunath, representing First Block Organization of Residents for Clean Environment (FORCE), Jayanagar, demanded a crackdown on illegal commercial establishments. “The BBMP should issue trade licence on the basis of the sanctioned building plan. Chain-snatchings have increased in the area. Cameras must be installed to catch the thieves. The garbage problem has risen again in the area,” he said.

Jayanagar corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun said the installation of cameras was in the works. She said BBMP officials must ensure that trade licences were issued only after verifying the sanctioned plan. The garbage problem, she said, was because of some problems at the landfill site which had been resolved. She asked BBMP officials to have separate vehicles for wet and dry waste.

BBMP official Bhagyalakshmi said the civic body had started closing down illegally run shops in Jayanagar 1st Block.

Selvi Tulasi, a resident of Sudhama Nagar, complained that drinking water was contaminated, causing water-borne diseases. In response, Devaraj said the process of replacing water pipelines was under way and the problem of contaminated water would be resolved soon.

Somashekhar, from the nonprofit Parikrama in Jayanagar, complained that a gas agency was operating without any licence. In reply, Devaraj directed BBMP officials to close down the agency.

Shariff, a resident of BHEL Layout, said illegal water tankers were operating in his locality and asked the authorities to clamp down on them. But Yogesh, an assistant executive engineer with the BBMP, expressed helplessness, saying though the civic body had disconnected the power supply, the water supplier had succeeded in obtaining stay from the high court.

Some residents highlighted the poor maintenance, lack of security and the stray dog menace at MN Krishna Rao Park.

‘Govt machinery helpless in Kalasipalyam’

The helplessness of the administration came to the fore when a teacher, M V Khan, complained that hundreds of vehicles are parked on the road at New Extention in Kalasipalyam and that uncleared garbage was inconveniencing students as well as residents.
Former corporator Dhanaraj, whose wife Prathibha Dhanaraj is the sitting corporator of Dharmaraya Swamy Temple ward, said the onus of fixing the problem was on residents.
“People must explain why they break the rules. They park hundreds of vehicles on the road. Shopkeepers weld and straighten centering sheets right in the middle of the road. It’s people who litter. I appeal to Bescom to disconnect power supply,” he said.
MLA R V Devaraj echoed him, saying lawlessness in Kalasipalyam must stop. He asked BBMP officials to go with adequate security to crack down on these things.
“If you go there with 10-15 people, I am sure you will not return safe. Go with 100-200 people. Even I am ready to help you with providing security,” he said.

Who is the corporator?
The audience was left wondering who is the corporator of Dharmaraya Swamy Temple (ward number 119).

All grievances and questions raised by local residents were being answered by former corporator Dhanaraj while his wife Prathibha Dhanaraj, the sitting corporator, sat quiet on the podium. Things came to a head when Dhanaraj pointed the finger at people for not doing their duty. People asked what authority did he have to ask them to resolve their problems by themselves. Despite repeated requests from the audience, he neither refused to leave the podium nor let his wife answer people’s queries.

‘Jain colleges must shift elsewhere’

Chickpet MLA R V Devaraj has directed the BBMP to serve a notice on Jain college to shift its building elsewhere as its students are causing inconvenience to residents.

Responding to Srinivas, a resident of VV Puram, who complained students were causing a nuisance in residential areas and parking vehicles haphazardly, Devaraj said many colleges had come up on civic amenity sites without proper planning. They do not provide parking space. All that college managements construct are just buildings, he said.

Family planning for dogs!

Addressing a resident’s complaint about the stray dog menace, MLA R V Devaraj fumbled for words. He said stray dogs cannot be culled as per the directions given by Menaka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development and an animal rights activist. “But we (corporators) are doing family planning for them and sending them away. While human beings have only one or two children in a year, dogs have many. The BBMP should consider creating a five-acre plot exclusively for these dogs where they can be left with their families,” he said.

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