Friday, April 23, 2010

A Load of work awaits first-timer

A Load of work awaits first-timer

Civic leader of Jayanagar East has to take care of six slums



When the corporator-elect Munisanjeevaiah (Sanjeevappa) began his ward yatra with DNA, the sky was overcast and the cumuli above resembled the problems he faces in his ward, Jayanagar East.
Sanjeevappa, elected on a Congress ticket, is a popular figure. He is familiar with the local problems but he has not yet drawn up an action plan. He knows only — and this he keeps repeating — that he has loads of work to do to bring his new ward on par with the rest of upscale Jayanagar constituency.
Three-fourth of his ward needs urgent upgradation in civic amenities. Everything from water to shopping is a problem awaiting solution. But he is confident and knows it is also an opportunity to do a good turn for the people. He whispers that some of his areas are communally sensitive too.
Populated with 28,000 people, the ward consists of Puttaiahnapalya, Puttaiahnapalya Slum, Jayanagar 4th T Block, 26th Main, Tilaknagar, Carmel Convent, NAL Layout, Arasu Colony, Indira Gandhi Colony, Corporation Colony, NIMHANS Layout, KEB Layout, Jayadeva Hospital and Old Gurappanapalya.
His yatra from his residence in Puttaiahnapalya draw residents in droves who start pouring out their woes. "There are many problems in this ward. There is no regular water and power supply and the drainage system is bad," NIMHANS Layout's resident Rashmi Yellappa's soprano is heard a mile away.
"The literacy level of the ward is low as the ward constitutes 65% to 70% of slums," says Sanjeevappa. Many facilities are lacking and existing amenities urgently need upgrading, he says. As he walks around, he listens to people's appeals. "We want the government schools brought to a good condition. The number of teachers is low and their quality too needs to be examined," says Ayesha Husna Turabi, a slum-dweller in Puttaiahnapalya. Her corporator nods and says he will look into the matter and do the needful.
Health facilities too are a cause of general concern. Sanjeevappa hopes to come up with solutions after talking to BBMP officials. He has few issues at Carmel Convent, NAL layout, and Tilaknagar. However, water and garbage do pose a problem and so are drainage and strays. This is the refrain everywhere.
Youth in his ward don't seem to be vocal but a few of them say they lack facilities for quality life such as a good shopping mall to buy the latest and hang out with friends, a decent coffee shop and pub and a dance hall. "But let's first bring in the basic facilities," says N Suhas, a student, who is more practical than others.
"There are no major crimes in the area and it is safe for people to step out of their houses after dark," says Sanjeevappa.
Even as the corporator claims his ward is largely free of law-breakers and miscreants, many residents dispute it.
"It's not safe here. Chain snatchings and muggings are frequent and there are no signs of abatement," says KR Raghothaman Naidu, a resident of 4th 'T' Block.
The litmus test of security, say residents, is whether women can step out of their houses after dark. Many residents of 4th 'T' Block like Sanjana Singh and Ranjeetha say if they are to go out after dark, they need a male escort.
"I was followed and pushed around by a few drunken men just two days ago. There was nobody to help me although some police personnel were present not far off," says Sanjana.
Amenities like playgrounds, libraries, theatres and entertainment centres are totally missing in the ward. Although there is one coffee shop in Jayanagar 7th Block, many do not wish to go so far.
"We want playgrounds, parks and gyms in our ward. It's difficult for us to go to far-off places for just a coffee" says Manjunath, a student.
The playgrounds and parks should be maintained well and saplings should be planted in available spaces, he says.

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