Friday, February 19, 2010

Struggling to shrug off rural tag

Struggling to shrug off rural tag

Dasarahalli has good transport link but its residents lack every other civic amenity

A western suburb and new addition to the BBMP, Dasarahalli is the growing industrial powerhouse of new Bangalore. The constituency with eight civic wards will be well-connected but civic planners have a heavy duty in meeting the shortages of other civic amenities, writes Arun Dev

Arun Dev

Residents of T Dasarahalli, the north-west suburb of Bruhat Bangalore, are caught between the hammer of water woes and the anvil of spiralling crime rates.
"Give us water, give us security. Then we'll talk of umpteen things that are required to give my area a semblance of modern life," says Rahul Manu, a young engineering graduate living in Havnoor extension of Dasarahalli ward.
Dasarahalli is the face of a fledgling new Bangalore. It is the only place in the city to have two mega infrastructure projects, Metro Rail and the elevated highway, running parallel to each other on Tumkur Road. Residents agree that whatever development they see around is the work of the Palike. The erstwhile municipality was enjoying a Rip-Van-Winkle sleep until it became part of Palike. Today it is a budding education hub with three engineering colleges, Sapthagiri, Krishna and Acharya situated in the area.
"The locality has seen rapid development in recent years, especially after the administration of the area came under the BBMP. The infrastructure has seen major changes. Dasarahalli moved on from being a 'halli' (village) to a worthy son of Namma Bengaluru," quips Raghav Ravindran, an MBA student with the Christ University.
After the delimitation exercise, Dasarahalli constituency is left with Shettihalli, Mallasandra, Bagalakunte,T Dasarahalli, Chokkasandra, Peenya Industrial Area, Rajagopal Nagar and Hegganahalli. Peenya industrial area is Asia's largest industrial cluster.
Tumkur Road, which connects Dasarahalli with the main city, is one of the main exits from Bangalore. Not many residents complain of transport facilities here as it is well connected.
"We in Dasarahalli, Bagalakunte and around have buses every third minute. Among them are brand new Volvos. Although located far away from the main city, travelling has never been a problem for us. With the metro rail coming up, it'll be faster," says Jayashree Hegde, working with Orcale.
But the wards, barring Peenya to some extent, face problems with potable water topping the list. "Piped water is not provided to all areas as yet, and whereever it is given, it is irregular and in limited measure," says N Narayana, a teacher living in Peenya.
Residents in many areas depend on tanker water which they collect by spending money from their pockets. But the quality of water is not good, he says.
Dasarahalli's image as a well-connected area does not impress the residents.
"But our basic need is water. Giant structures are irrelevant for us if this need is not fulfilled," says Masood Ibrahim, an angry resident of Tumkur Road and retired professor.
"We've to buy water from tanker operators. The residents mostly belong to lower middle class and they can't afford it every time," says he.
Masood put his finger on another exposed nerve of water shortage. "As water shortage is a common problem, people tend to store it in every possible way, leading to waste of water and creating cesspools that breed mosquitoes."
Residents of Chokkasandra, Peenya Industrial Area, and Rajagopal Nagar give credit where it is due. "After the development works taken up by the BBMP, the major roads are maintained well. However, the story takes a u-turn when it comes to the interior roads of our locality. They are in bad shape and streetlights too do not function well," says RN Kunte, a resident of Chokkasandra.
Women are the worst victims of bad roads and ill-lit streets. "Rickshaw drivers refuse to come to the place where I live. If at all they agree, they demand a big sum. We often oblige them," says Radhika Menon, an MBA aspirant and resident of Peenya.
Rents are also shooting up. With many colleges coming up in the area, house owners literally rob their tenants. "Those coming from outside the state are the worst exploited," says Deepak Chant, an engineering student from Garhwal.
Although the Palike had made arrangements for removal of garbage, it is not regularly collected. This results in mounds of waste at street corners with stray dogs feasting on them.
"We are facing stray menace every day. We are not able to walk and sleep peacefully. Will the BBMP do something about it," writes a young blogger living in Dasarahalli.

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