Simmering discontent over crumbling civic infrastructure in Mahadevapura, one of the city’s IT hubs, boiled over on Friday, as civic groups and activists demanded MLA Arvind Limbavali to step down if he is unable to deliver the promises made to residents.
“We are forced to live in filth, traffic jams and air pollution. We cannot accept it anymore,” protesters said, calling for an end to the long-standing apathy towards the area.
More than 11 years after the area was brought under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Whitefield and surrounding areas are yet to get basic facilities such as water and drainage. And the less said about the roads the better.
Though the area is a tech hub and contributes a huge amount of tax to the state exchequer, civic infrastructure is in dire straits.
Under the banner of #MahadevapuraDemands, more than 1,500 residents gathered at the Marathahalli skywalk, as activists, members of 14 different civic groups overcame their differences and took to the streets. Schoolchildren, too, joined the protest.
Protesters marched for around one km from the Marathahalli skywalk to Limbavali’s office, chanting, “No roads, no tax,” “Roads first and vote next,” “It is our city”.
They called out the elected representatives for failing to keep the promises made during the previous elections.
Swapna Agrawal, a faculty member from Delhi Public School, said about 40 children from the school had taken part in the protest. “Buses here reach very late because of slow movement of traffic due to potholed roads. Children in our schools have to wait for more than 2 hours to get the buses. It needs to be addressed immediately,” she said.
The legislator’s argument - being in the opposition as reason for lack of development - was also questioned. “Things have changed. Now the same parties are in power in both the Centre and state. Why don’t we see any difference,” they asked.
Abhay Raj, a techie from Thubarahalli, said proper infrastructure is a “fundamental right”.
“Mahadevapura has been the top tax paying constituency in the city but still there is no proper infrastructure for us. The Outer Ring Road that was developed near Marathahalli is of no use for commuters,” he said.
Whitefield Rising’s Nitya Ramakrishnan said that residents were not demanding big ticket projects.
“We are asking for execution of simple works,” she said. “Why don’t garbage autos run daily and why do officers turn a blind eye to illegal borewells? Why can’t space be allocated for dry waste collection centres?”
She said that if elected representatives cannot get bureaucracy to work, it means they are incapable of bringing change.
Another resident complained about the roads. “Roads are not in good condition and the street lights don’t work. In many stretches, roads have turned into slush. We don’t deserve this after paying tax honestly,” said Kundalahalli resident Praveen Murthy.
As MLA Limbavali did not come out of his office to meet the protesters, they submitted a representation to his office.
When contacted, Limbavali said Whitefield residents should be patient.
“How many days has it been since our government came to power,” asked Limbavali.
“During Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy’s government the constituency did get funds. During the previous BJP government, I have done a lot of work. Now I have been successful in bringing Rs 900 crore through various schemes, which are in the process of getting sanctioned.”
Limbavali, however, added: “If the protest was politically motivated, then I will give answer politically at right time.”