Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A hipper town is seeking discipline

A hipper town is seeking discipline

The place may have everything to offer for an urban population. But the residents can't be happy so long as women feel insecure and are forced to sweep the roads in front of their homes when civic staff regularly fail to turn up, writes Arun dev

Sarvagnanagar looks for a saviour to tackle basic issues like safety, water, waste

Arun dev



Suman Narayan, a homemaker of HBR layout, had a shocking experience a few weeks ago. At dawn, as usual, she was coming out towards her gate to collect milk when she saw two bikers snatching the gold chain of her neighbour who was putting rangoli in front of her house.
"It all happened in jiffy and before we raised an alarm, the thugs had vanished," says she.
Following many incidents of chain snatching, four private security guards were provided for the area, "But I don't feel confident to go out at dawn and after dusk," says Vaishnavi Suryan, another resident of the layout.
It's ironical that in a constituency that houses some of Bangalore's most upmarket residential areas, security is so lax. Women are outraged at the police indifference.
Sarvagnanagar has eight civic wards – Nagavara, HBR Layout, Banasavadi, Kammanahalli, Kacharkanahalli, Kadugondanahalli, Lingarajapura and Maruthi Seva Nagar.
Nobody disputes the fact that major parts of the constituency are well spaced out with decent road connectivity. "Sarvagnanagar has everything that the urban, young population wants — cafes, restaurants, grounds, parks, lounge bar and more," says Shalini Ramraj, a research scholar living in Banaswadi.
But it is also a fact, say residents of Nagavara and HBR Layout, that some basic problems such as water shortage, maddening traffic, irregular clearance of domestic waste and consequent stray menace remain to be tackled. "Maybe, after the civic elections, the new corporators will be able to help us better," says Shalini.
Affluent though most residents are, they feel upset over water shortage. "Water comes twice or thrice in a week, that too for a limited period of time. The amount of water that we store is not enough to last a week. We end up by buying water from tanker operators or order water cans," says Srikala Krishnamurthy, a resident of Kalyan Nagar.
Unlawful connection is also blamed for the dwindling pressure of piped water. "Many residents have obtained more than one connection and many have acquired illegal connections," says Rajeshwari Ramanujam, a resident of Subramanyapalaya extension.
Bureaucratic boorishness of not consulting residents is blamed for loss of much green cover. "In the name of infrastructure development, much green cover has been shaved off in this constituency," complains Ramesh SN, secretary of Residents' Welfare Association of East.
He says planners must not do development without having a dialogue with the beneficiaries. "My family has been living in this area for decades. We have seen this area grow. There were three lakes in the area. Now there is not even one, all because of illegal and irregular constructions without concern for building laws," says Ramesh.
Most houses in the southern and central parts of the constituency may be inhabited by the rich and the affluent but the garbage problem affects them as much as it affects the cramped areas.
"There are days when no employee from BBMP comes to my house for garbage collection. Conservancy workers don't visit the place to sweep the road in front of my house. Often my family does the job. Is this what we pay taxes for?" Seethal Iyer, a resident of Kalyan Nagar, asks.
Pests and stray dogs stem from such a situation, says Rajan Mathai, an IT professional working with a BPO in Brookefield. Jennifer J Kurian of Ramaswamy Palya narrated how her friend's child was bitten by a stray dog after giving her a scary chase. The memory of it kept haunting her. "It took a long time for her to get over the shocking memory," says Jennifer's mother, Daisy Kurian.
Not a small irritant is another intriguing issue. It is about multiple names for the same area.
"When I shifted to this area after marriage, my husband told me this area was called Subramanyapura extension. It was quite funny that every year the name kept changing. BBMP renamed the area to Chowdeshwari Layout and later it was changed to Doddanna Layout by local people. Another name Palliyanna Layout also exists. I am still confused what I should be writing as my address," says Gauri Santosh.
k_arun@dnaindia.netGauri SantoshHomemaker

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