Saturday, April 17, 2010

This Amma gives them reason to smile

This Amma gives them reason to smile

New civic leader vows to resolve problems plaguing Kaval Byrasandra

Nandini BP and Sonal Agrawal



"To make a smart student smarter is no great task but to make a dimwit smart is a rousing job." To YR Gowramma, the saffron winner of Kaval Byrasandra ward near RT Nagar, this wisecrack is her leading motto. The ward located in the city's north is a potpourri of rich, the mid-income and poor. The deprived constitute the majority.
As Gowramma, known locally as Amma, goes out on a ward yatra with DNA, people greet her all along the way and she salutes them. She liberally distributes her calling-card with phone numbers and addresses with a utility package on the reverse with phone numbers of Bescom and police stations.
The roads from Sultanpalya, the transport hub, to elsewhere in the ward, are too narrow for comfortable travel. Traffic is unruly. Shop owners seem to be reluctant to shift businesses for road widening work for fear of losing their property.
At our first stop, Shampura, we are greeted by scores of boards hanging by the shops standing behind dunghills and garbage piles, announcing all sorts of wares and services: Yoga, tantra, herbal remedies for skin-sex diseases, beauty saloons for men and women, aroma therapy for all ills, gyms for men, gyms for ladies…
At Shampura, residents form a ring around their new civic leader to present a long list of woes: acute water shortage that forces them to shell out Rs400 every week to the 'thugs' (tanker operators), broken drainage, garbage piles, stray dogs, denuded avenues…
"You must tackle the water shortage at least," Chandrakka, a resident, tells the corporator in Kannada laced with Tamil. Raghavendra, a shop owner standing nearby, nods in agreement. Water shortage is severe. Cauvery water is a joke.
The corporator's next stop is MM Layout which has a middle-class profile. The whole area does not sport a blade of green. But residents are eager to see their surroundings turn verdant. "We will guard the saplings, madam," says N Veerabhadra who introduces himself as a businessman. "Please plant saplings all around here. We will not litter the place. Let there be regular collection of waste," he tells like a naughty student wanting to turn a new leaf.
"Don't worry. I've plans," Gowramma assures them. She calls many residents by name and they show great reverence to their Amma.
"This layout," says a senior resident, "can do with a temple and a park. Will the councillor help?" Yes, says Gowramma. She has plans to green the area that presently looks like an aerodrome. Broken sewage and lack of storm water drains will also be attended to. "For strays, I already have taken initiative to get them sterilised"
The layout has a women's association. Its president Pankaja R Gujjaar tells DNA that the members will back the councillor to the hilt on all the amenities she is planning for the ward.
Gowramma moves to LR Bande where she tells residents she will give special attention to education and vocational training to the underprivileged, especially girls. She says she has got three acres of government land allocated for building a school that will be a model for other state-run schools.
Manjunath, a resident of Chinnanna Layout, wants strong motors to be employed for bore wells as the water table is going down. Garbage is what bites Nim Ranjitha, a student. For the bright side, none of the residents talk of any serious crime in the ward. There are no complaints of crime except occasional bare-knuckle street fights or a drunken man's antics on the road. "We feel safe here," says Usman Ali, a shop owner near the power office.
Populated with 30,000 people, the ward comprises Kaval Byrasandra, LR Bande, Shampura, Kaveri Nagar, MM Layout, Kamrajnagar, Sultanpalya, Nagraj Layout, Sakkappa Hannumanthappa Layout, PNT Quarters, KPH Quarters, Adarshanagar, and Siddartha Layout.ray of hope: Residents of Kaval Byrasandra greet YR Gowramma during her tour

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