Saturday, January 09, 2010

Space crunch in Kengeri Upanagara

Space crunch in Kengeri Upanagara
Sandeep Moudgal

Continuing the focus on wards ahead of the crucial election to BBMP, Deccan Herald takes a look at the problems facing Kengeri Upanagara.


Kengeri Satellite Town is a ward that cannot have an expansion policy. Reeling under the dual pressure of population explosion and lack of Civic Amenity sites, this ward is apparently the most abused one in Yeshwanthapura assembly constituency.

Etched in Kengeri’s history is the Karadi Betta, identified in 1845. In 1866, Kengeri saw the first organised sericulture community with the help of an Italian Signor Da Vecchi.

Over the next 100 years, lost in oblivion, Kengeri was developed in the early 90’s as a satellite town. Planned with precision and care to house communities that wanted to get away from the noisy City, the satellite town grew over the last 20 years.

But, today, the Satellite town or Upanagara has become a saturated City in itself. With elections just round the corner, it is hard not to notice the apathy among people over the development promises politicians have made.

While the lakes in the ward have turned breeding places for mosquitoes and water hyacinth, the civic amenity sites are all occupied by the government offices leaving little space for the children to play. There exists no CA sites to sustain the development and provide a better life for the future generation.

“What good are these politicians? They come only for votes and then desert us,” says Muniamma, a resident living by the Hosakere lake, now filled with water hyacinths.

Encroachment

Parks and playgrounds have been encroached by the authorities themselves, who contend that they have nowhere else to set up their offices. A BWSSB office, a Primary Healthcare Centre and an overhead water tank occupy prime space in one of the few existing parks in Kengeri Satellite town. Meanwhile, the KPTCL office and the Silk Board have offices in rented spaces, with no alternative to be housed anywhere else. “Even the government hospital has been placed inside the park for lack of space,” complained the locals.

Residents allege that CA sites, which were only a few in number, were also allotted by the authorities to other institutions. In one instance, the Government had granted the local playground opposite the First Grade PU College, to a institution called Basaveshwara Samaj Samiti.

While the land was declared by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) as a playground for the children, it was overruled by the Government and the land allotted to the religious institution. But the decision was not implemented because locals ensured that such blatant favouritism did not take place.

Today, the threat to the remaining CA sites continues. With practically no space, even the First Grade PU College in Kengeri Satellite Town is being proposed to be shifted to Ullalu.

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