Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old area, new problems

Old area, new problems
Sandeep Moudgal

Like Malleswaram, Rajajinagar too has an image that never escapes the Bangalorean’s mind.


For, this ward -- named after C Rajagopalachari--is one of the City’s oldest areas and an out and out residential locality housing all classes of people. This is reason enough for Rajajinagar to play a critical role in the run up to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) polls.

With the City’s expansion over the years, Rajajinagar too has felt the full force of the inward migration. Result: Slums have mushroomed, Indiranagar and Bhovi Colony being the two prominent ones.

The recent government drive of distributing title deeds to these slumdwellers has been welcomed by the people. But these localities have a long way to go before any developmental activity reaches them. Despite the forthcoming Palike elections, there is now a general apathy among the citizens of this ward and the constituency as a whole.
“Frankly speaking, the politicians who enter the election fray hold vested interests and are just out to garner power. No one seems to have the inclination to serve the people,” said M Venugopalan, resident of Rajajinagar.

A retired scientist, Venugopalan noted that although the crime graph had shot up in the area over the last few years, police patrolling had virtually stopped. “As night approaches, the patrolling completely disappears,” he lamented.

Illegal parking and irregular garbage collection along the by-lanes of the ward are the other worrisome issues for residents here. Traffic chaos have also grown near educational institutions such as the Nijalingappa College and the KLE College.

Besides, rampant encroachment of footpaths have forced citizens to walk on the streets exposing themselves to the speeding vehicles. In a recent meeting with the local MLA, Suresh Kumar, the citizens had spoken about the need to clear these encroachments for people to walk.

Water woes

While the water woes have multiplied over a span of 25 years, Rajajinagar has seen some relief in recent times with supply every alternate day. Nevertheless, problems persist because water is often supplied towards midnight and in many places, the pressure is too low. Residents of Bhovi Colony are particularly affected.

“To increase the flow of water, the government should contemplate changing the water pipes in these areas. The pipelines in Rajajinagar and West of Chord Road were laid 25 years ago. After a while, a minimum of one feet silt accumulates in any pipe. We need to change them,” said Vasudev Rao Haldipur, a retired engineer and resident of the area.

Namma Metro

The on-going Namma Metro construction has also caused much agony to motorists in the area. Traffic congestion is rampant. “The construction is being carried out right in the centre of the road. It is quite hard to manouvre the vehicles in such situations. If the amenities benefit the masses, the agony is worth it. But I am not sure if the Metro is going to help the people in this area,” said Haldipur.

Other wards

Prakash Nagar : 98

Located near Srirampuram, Prakash Nagar has been facing severe shortage of water. Citizens in the locality have also been complaining of “irregular” garbage clearance.

Basaveshwara Nagar : 100

The locality comprises mostly of middle class residential properties. While it has been relatively quiet, the ward on the whole has been facing trouble on the law and order front. Residents here complain that the police don’t undertake regular night patrols in the area.

Kamakshipalya : 101

While the area has been recently covered under the “Zero Garbage” policy, Kamakshipalya by-lanes still await regular clearance of the waste from their roads. Drainage water over-flowing from manholes has been one problem that has plagued the entire ward for long.

Srirama Mandir : 108

The ward with its narrow lanes and overburdened population has been one with lack of proper infrastructure. With lack of wider roads, the ward has been screaming for attention in this regard. The ward also has a lack of proper Storm Water Drains which has been the main reason for flooding in certain parts of the ward during the monsoon season.

Voices

M Venugopalan, esident, Rajajinagar:

“We need a corporator who has a basic education and who is interested in working for the people. On a personal note I do not think the election will make any difference to the functioning of the Palike.”

Vasudeva Rao Haldipur, Resident, West of Chord Road: “I cannot see a good representative for the people in the City anymore. What we need is someone who is at least not corrupt. If he or she does not provide us any relief then the corporator will be wiped out.”

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