Bengaluru 2017: Looking back at civic stories

Bengaluru 2017: Looking back at civic stories

In journalist TJS George's Askew: A Short Biography of Bangalore, the author argues that disobeying Kempe Gowda's mother's advice has adversely affected Bengaluru.

He writes: "Why did modernity and enterprise make Bangalore unbearable? The answer was that Bangalore’s elected leaders, administrators and builders disobeyed Kempe Gowda’s mother. When the fabled founder of Bangalore set out to build his dream capital in the 1530s, his mother gave him two instructions: ‘Keregalam kattu, marangalam nedu (Build lakes, plant trees)"

Concluding the chapter and justifying his choice for the title of his book, George says, "The IT boom and other forces of rapid change had altered Bangalore from within, as though unseen hands had reconstituted its DNA. It used to be a city in peace with itself. It was now a bundle of contradictions, a battleground of competing constituencies, where going forward resembles going backward. Knocked off balance by the weight of its own growth, Bangalore was askew. The hand of the potter did shake when the IT chip hit him."

In 2017, the challenges that Bengaluru faces are more complex than those anticipated by Gowda's mother. From potholes to traffic jams, to diminishing green cover and pollution and crumbling infrastructure, the city grappled with several civic problems. Here are some that DH reported on:

Nervous BBMP keeps Indira Canteen sites secret
A DH exclusive story on the construction of Indira Canteens. When BBMP began the Indira canteen construction spree, people started protesting the choice of locations for the canteens, leading BBMP to keep the locations close to their chest.

GAIL fails to restore roads after digging them to lay pipelines
DH reported on the sheer carelessness of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) on laying networks for distribution of piped natural gas (PNG) on roads, and then failing to restore them.

After DH reported the issue, immediate action was taken, and the roads were restored. Read all about DH’s impact here.

BBMP's pothole claim a sham
With this special story, Deccan Herald reported a count of 236 craters in CBD alone, while BBMP claimed there are just 844 potholes in the city.

Encroachment under the cover of open spaces
Here’s a damning DH report on how BBMP encroached playgrounds for Indira Canteens and other purposes, labelling them “open spaces”.

Rs. 200 crore spent over 10 years, but city lakes still contaminated
BBMP spent Rs. 200 crores in 10 years on restoring the city’s lakes, but this process has made no difference to the lakes of Bengaluru. DH visited four prominent lakes, and found them facing the same problem: unabated contamination from sewage.

MNCs undertake pothole repair as part of their CSR
Disgruntled with the negligence of government agencies, many multi-national companies across the city have planned to include active pothole repair in their Company Social Responsibility (CSR) activity agenda.

Study reveals Bengaluru residents spend 7% of life commuting
We’ve all been there: counting minutes as the morning commute trudges along to work, and the evening commute stretches all the way to home, with irate drivers honking their horns next to us as we sit in Bengaluru traffic. Did you know that we spend 7% of our lives waiting for traffic to move? This would likely increase to more alarming levels if the city's traffic woes are not effectively dealt with.

BBMP plans food waste crushers while sewage crumbles
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) proposes to make food waste crushers a compulsory addition to every new household in the city. A plan, which will 'create a disaster' according to experts, as the city sewage system is not equipped to handle the load.

GST raises stink in Bengaluru
A garbage crisis built up again, with pourakarmikas, contractors and lorry owners staying away from work owing to their demands not being met, among other complaints. This particular incident was about the pourakarmikas being made to bear part of BBMP’s tax liabilities to the government as part of the GST rollout.


(Compiled by Darshan Devaiah & Poornima)

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