Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Deliver us from smothering pollution

Deliver us from smothering pollution

Chamarajpet was unprepared for the rapid growth and the place tells it aloud

Chamarajpet pines for its halcyon days. Non-stop growl of traffic, the consequent pollution, loss of greenery and lack of sanitation are the most notable civic problems this old city constituency is facing. Residents say Metro is no solution for traffic woes but flyovers, underpasses and pavements are, reports S Senthalir

S Senthalir

Chamarajpet and its seven civic wards are overwhelmed by the city's high growth. But they get very few boons, while all the bane of development is thrust on them.
The residents' problems can be put in a nutshell. Rajesh K, a youth who appears to be the voice of the constituency, says, "We suffer from 'TPC' which means traffic, pollution, and congestion. Now, the metro work has added a 'M' to these woes. Otherwise, we are okay."
"Chamarajpet is a blessed place. It has been the cradle for many luminaries. Among them is the enigmatic tragedy king of Hindi cinema, Guru Dutt. It's Chamarajpet which lent its name to Chamarajpet Charlie, the popular jovial character of Radio One," says he.
Rajesh is not the lone resident speaking of the lost world. For a nostalgic Prof Sreedhara Murthy, "those were the days".
"Chamarajpet was in our cognitive map. We could guide anyone who came to the locality. We knew every nook and corner and also the people who lived here. Those days, the 'harikathe' recital would go on for three months. We sadly miss the harikathe and the simple, old folks who came to hear them. Everything has changed. The newcomers have ceased to be social," says he evincing a wistful look.
Coming to the present, he says, "Today, Chamarajpet does not suffer from basic needs. There's water and a system to dispose of the garbage."
But the situation is quite bad in other wards where mounting waste remains a menace. While the young yearn for modern facilities, the old long for the lost paradise. Both are hoping that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Pailike (BBMP) will make them at least partly happy once the wards get representatives.
The frenzied march of the city has claimed many old landmarks, roads and trees. Residents very much miss the green cover and blame Namma Metro for it.
"We hope Metro work will be completed fast so that part of the greenery can be restored," says Vinay A, a resident of Chamarajpet.
Growing traffic and their constant roar make many sick. "There is traffic pile-up because of the Metro work," says Vinay.
"Once a green area, Chamarajpet is now highly polluted," says Satish Rajan, a resident. Most people in the constituency believe that Metro is no solution to the traffic problems. "More flyovers, pedestrian paths and regulation are the real answers," says Rajan.
"Chamarajpet suffers from the civic un-preparedness to bear the high growth," says Vaishnavi KB, an engineering student. "There should be more underpasses and flyovers to tackle the traffic movement."
Karthik Goyal, a trader in KR Market, puts his finger on the nub of the problem. "Every 100 years, a traffic signal and every 10 yards, an ill-made speed breaker. What else do you want for traffic congestion and pollution?" he asks.
"Unscientific traffic regulation is the major reason for snarls, and for that senior traffic officials, and civic officials are equally responsible," says Karthik.
He consoles himself with the thought that core Bangalore too suffers from this want.
Residents and their leaders say their appeals for a more meaningful approach to development have fallen on the deaf ears of civic officials. Except for a few parks like Makkala Koota, there is not much greenery to boast of here.
"Buildings have been mushrooming everywhere. But attendant facilities have been missing, thanks to corrupt civic officials," says Shanthi Rajagopal, a resident of Padarayanapura ward.
The Idgah maidan, which is located here, is one the biggest grounds in the state. The constituency also houses Tippu Sultan's summer palace.
Shanthi is pained to see that even historical monuments and institutions like Tippu Fort, Victoria Hospital, Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Vani Vilas Hospital and Vani Vilas College remain neglected.
"Amid the traditional eatery joints, a Cafe Coffee Day outlet has sprung up. However, there are still no multiplexes and huge malls or shopping complexes. It would have been more comfortable for us if these were here," she says


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