Monday, October 19, 2009

Problems of the middle-class

Problems of the middle-class
Sandeep Moudgal and Rashmi Menon

Malleswaram is said to be a middle class bastion, a locality that now houses hundreds of IT and other professionals. One of the oldest parts of Bangalore, this place too has changed with time.

Wards

35: Aramanenagara
45: Malleswaram
64: Kadumalleswara
65: Rajamahalguttahalli
66: Subramanyanagara
76: Gayatrinagara

Defining Malleswaram:

*One of the oldest areas in the city is a middle class bastion.
*The constituency has seen
indiscriminate construction activities in the recent past.
*Increasing pressure is being felt on the drainage system, water supply.
*Two signal free corridors,
25 signal free junctions, five Railway Under Bridges, day care centres for elders, playground, indoor stadiums are some of the developements expected in the future


Today, Malleswaram is an assembly constituency that includes Gayatrinagar, Subramanayanagar, Mathikere, parts of Yeshwantpur and the VIP area of Sadashivanagar.

With the new high rises and apartment complexes, and the old houses and trading areas, the constituency is primarily a residential locality. But with time, new developments have posed new challenges. With the rapid increase in population and numerous apartment complexes, the pressure on the drains and water supply coupled with traffic congestion and narrow roads have become a perpetual problem for Malleswaram.

Plans are afoot for massive developmental works costing huge amounts of money.
But will they work?

A massive investment of Rs 5,000 crore has been proposed to build 20 new signal free junctions in the constituency by the sitting MLA Dr Ashwath Narayana. Five railway underpasses approximately worth Rs 35 crore are in the pipeline. Also on the agenda are an indoor stadium and park, lighting of streets in various areas and water kiosks in 15 locations. But the real problems still persist in most parts of Malleswaram, problems that need to be addressed at the earliest.

According to Chandru R C, President of MSR Nagar Resident Welfare Association, there is a scarcity of drinking water in their area. The area receives drinking water around 4 pm till past midnight. “We have complained about this several times but with no use. The standard answers we get from the engineers are either lack of staff or lack of funds to give contractors,” he said.

In Lower Palace Orchids, Vyalikaval, residents are faced with a huge garbage problem. The waste is dumped right outside their homes. “We have pursued the problem at the highest levels including the National Human Rights Commission.
Finally, some relief came when the BBMP cleared the garbage and began the construction of a modern playground. But, three months ago, it stalled and the area has been left in the lurch,” said Srinivas Murthy, resident of Lower Palace Orchids.
“Our primary concern over the next few months will be on garbage disposal and traffic related issues,” said S Ramananathan, President for Sadashivnagar RWA.

Chandru said that their area was not being cleaned regularly. “We have sweepers cleaning the roads. However, the vehicle that comes to pick up the garbage is irregular. So the sweepers dump the garbage in the drains,” he lamented. Beside, the silt in the storm water drains are not cleaned at regular intervals due to which, ten houses were flooded during the recent rains.

“I had to complain to the BBMP commissioner to clear the silt in the drains,”
he said.

The ITI Layout Residents' Association has a problem with sewage water entering their homes. Mani, President of the association, said: “Ours’ is a land locked layout. Hence, the catchment water from Mathikere enters our layout.” The association had been fighting with the Government for the last 12 years to lay a pipeline to resolve the inundation issue. However, none of the officials have paid any heed to their complaints.

Srinivas, Resident of Malleswaram: “The rapid increase in new high rise buildings is a cause for worry. Indiscriminate issue of licences to new apartments is causing strain on the drainage system and water supply in Malleswaram.

Srinivas Murthy, Resident of Aramanenagar: “While efforts were made by the authorities to develop the Vayalikaval playground, it has been left incomplete. For the past one month the work has stalled.

Manjunath, resident of ITI Layout: “The waste water from the nearby hospital flows into our storm water drain. During heavy rain, the water overflows and enters our homes. There is no outlet for rain water.


In Conversation

Dr Ashwatha Narayan, MLA

Which are the areas you wish to concentrate on for more development?

The former Armanenagar ward, Guthalli, Mathikere and other areas need development. Before receiving the people’s mandate, these areas had been grossly neglected. But it has picked up in the last one year for more developmental works.

What are the new works that have been commissioned in Malleswaram?

Nearly 25 junction-free zones have been proposed. There are two major junction-free corridors proposed under my constituency for smoother flow of traffic. We are looking at works that are need-based rather than spending on works that will not be of immediate use for the people.

How has been the response from the Civic Agencies in the city to your demands?

The response has been quite vibrant. But there have been odd-cases where the lack of initiative has been a matter of concern. We are trying to change the system and get the officials on the field to get the work done.

How have the RWAs worked in your favour?

The concept of involving Resident Welfare Association (RWA) has truly been beneficial. We are trying to streamline the entire system where I, as an MLA, will only be a go-between the Chief Minister and the RWA.

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