Friday, April 30, 2010

Pockets of squalor next to posh locality

Pockets of squalor next to posh locality
Kaushik Chakravarthy ,Bangalore, April 29, DHNS

Freshly laid, well marked roads laden with thick tree canopies dot the idyllic, predominantly upper middle class ward of J P Nagar. But behind this almost picture perfect residential haven of the privileged, lie pockets of squalor and neglect.

The locality, first envisioned and developed during the time of former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde is home to a host of celebrities and politicians and has more than its fair share of bungalows and mansions. The ward includes J P Nagar 2nd, 3rd and 4th phases, Marenahalli and Dollar’s Colony.

In complete contrast to the posh neighbourhoods of J P Nagar with their lush parks, desilted and free flowing ‘dodda mori’ and pot-hole free raods, are the stark realities of garbage strewn shanties in Marenahalli and KSRTC Layout. Incidentally, Marenahalli is home to the newly elected councillor of the J P Nagar ward Chandrashekar Raju of the BJP.

It comes as no surprise when this contradiction is reflected in the views of residents. While on the one hand, residents of the ‘posh’ J P Nagar had nothing in particular to complain about, the dwellers in the slums of J P Nagar had a familiar story to tell.

About 1500 dwellers at KSRTC Layout in J P Nagar 2nd Phase are facing the prospect of temporarily vacating their dwellings to make way for the government to build pucca houses. Despite assurances from the councillor that the project will be complete in a year’s time, dwellers expressed their doubts about the promise. Recently, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa even laid the foundation stone for the project.

Anthony, a dweller said, “There are 1500 households here and most of us are settled. Our children go to schools around here. If we vacate, there is no guarantee that the government will complete building the houses in one year.”

However, he did have words of appreciation for the newly elected mayor Nataraj, who represents the neighbouring Sarakki ward. “We have a lot of respect for Nataraj because he has helped us. But we are not sure about how long it will take to build this colony of pucca houses,” he said.

Meanwhile, dwellers in the other poor and lower middle class pocket in Marenahalli have the familiar story of disparity and discrimination to tell.

Name: Chandrashekar Raju
Party: (BJP)
Education: PUC
Family: Wife Latha and son Arya

What are your plans to address the garbage issue?

I assure all residents of the ward about resolving the issues related to garbage within the next two years.

Dwellers at the KSRTC Layout have expressed doubts about the government’s plans to build pucca houses for them...

We will build 1,500 pucca houses. Work has already progressed till the foundation level and our CM himself laid the foundation stone for the project. Within one year 50 per cent of them will receive houses.

What efforts have been taken to clear up drains?

The drains have been thoroughly desilted. In fact, they have been maintained so well that a family can sit and have a meal there.

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