Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chaotic traffic, garbage, parking space... the list of problems is 'long'

Chaotic traffic, garbage, parking space... the list of problems is 'long'

Koramangala has grown rapidly, but residents complain that infrastructure has failed to keep pace. Vehicle congestion is a major problem. And then there is the problem of garbage, power cuts and erratic water supply. Residents' welfare associations are planning to form a federation to put more pressure on the authorities to make them act

Shilpa CB



One might think that infrastructure has kept pace with "development" in Koramangala. The fact, however, is that it is still raining woes in this "privileged" locality. Residents continue to wage a battle to get what they bargained for when they chose to settle down here. Ask residents what bothers them the most, and the answer is, "That's a long list... where does one begin..."
The most common complaint is of chaotic traffic. Koramangala seems to have borne the brunt of the city's growth as the IT capital of the country. "People going to areas around Koramangala get into the neighbourhood for shortcuts. That gives trouble to the residents," says Frank Coelho, an architect who resides in the 1st block of Koramangala.
"Vehicle congestion in the area is not being created by residents. A lot of people transit through the area," says Vatsala Dhananjay, another resident.
Coelho says moving within the area has become a challenge, thanks to lack of regulation. Often, getting out of one's own house takes quite much effort because vehicles come in the way. New commercial establishments coming up don't make adequate parking arrangements.
"Vehicles are parked haphazardly. We have to call the cops to tow away vehicles. How many times can we keep complaining?" says Saraswathi Venkataraman, a senior resident of Koramangala. Citizens expect the traffic policemen to come on rounds and conduct inspections to check the menace. "Once we had managed to get the traffic policemen to visit often and curtail the offence. But that lasted only for a month. Soon, things went back to the disorganised way," she says.
In residential areas, only residents should be allowed to park their vehicles. For commercial activity, there are 80ft road and 100ft roads. The interior roads can be protected from the onslaught of commercialisation, say the residents.
Govindarajan SK has been trying to get the voices of the residents heard. "By hook or crook, we will ensure that the problems are solved shortly," he says. "We are trying to meet the representatives of 5th, 6th, 7th , and 8th blocks. We have some suggestions, which we will present to the right agencies," says the secretary of the Koramangala 8th Block Residents' Welfare Association. The determined citizens are planning to form a federation of the residents' welfare associations to strengthen their movement.
Flooding during rains in low-lying areas like ST Bed and Ejipura is still a reality. Power cuts and water supply woes continue to persist in a few blocks. Koramangala isn't a picture of perfection. Like other areas in the city, garbage problem plagues Koramangala too. "There is no fixed time for garbage collection. Working people usually leave their garbage outside their houses or hang the bags on the gate. Street dogs get to them and mess up the whole place," says Manu Chrysanth, a businessman. Chrysanth suggests that there be a fixed time for garbage collection and residents use sealed bags to put their garbage out for collection. That might keep the street dogs from making the most of the locality's refuse.
The onus is on the civic agencies and welfare associations to educate the people. "It is difficult to perfect the system because of the population. The garbage collectors come religiously every day. In commercial areas, they come twice a day. But, still, it is an issue," Govindarajan says.
In trying to solve today's problems, residents are thinking about the future of the next generation. "There are no playgrounds for children," says Venkataraman. "Where will those between eight and teenage play? They don't play, they just go home and sit in front of the TV. Without exercise, how will they become strong and tomorrow's leaders?"
She suggests that vacant sites can be used as playgrounds as well as parking spaces. This will keep these areas free of garbage, weeds and also serve the purpose of vehicle owners and benefit children.
Chrysanth said that "illegal activities" such as "prostitution" being run in "illegal bars" and in some so-called PG accommodations were polluting the environment. "Youngsters come here to hang out. We need to keep the environment clean for them," he says. "We are enjoying good weather in the city because our forefathers planted trees. They had the foresight and we are benefiting from it. If we don't do the same today, the future generations will have nothing to thank us for."

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