Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Give us roads & water, cry residents

Give us roads & water, cry residents
The Times of India

Bangalore: Every chief minister, who goes on the traditional city inspection makes the mandatory announcement roads coming under City Municipal Council jurisdiction will be taken up for development by BCC. Dharam Singh is no exception.
Year after year, BCC makes a budget provision to develop approach roads outside its limits. But the progress is nil.
All IT firms and other major industries are situated in CMC areas, which lack even motorable roads. The IT captains have been threatening to expand operations outside the city for want of infrastructure.

What more, CMC residents pool money and get their roads metalled, while officials relax in their plush offices!
Ask the CMC officials about the lack of infrastructure, the standard answer is: “Government has taken a decision not to asphalt roads till the BWSSB completes laying water supply and UGD lines.’’

But, no roads existed even before BWSSB works commenced. Pat comes the reply: “Whatever works have to be carried out, we do it from our own resources. We can plan concrete projects only if government gives us grants.’’

The seven CMCs on the city periphery are poor cousins of Bangalore, where residents are deprived of basic amenities: bumpy, unasphalted roads with huge stones popping all along the stretch, lack of drinking water supply, drainage facilities and public transportation.

Residents, who have been constantly egging on the authorities to improve the conditions, often take to the streets, while a few get the work done by pooling resources.

For instance, the S.R.R. Colony Residents’ Association in Mahadevapura CMC collected Rs 20,000 and got roads metalled to enable vehicles ply. Residents of Basavanagar, Vijnananagar and surrounding areas in K.R. Puram took to the streets protesting poor conditions. They were even prepared to raise money to lay roads.

While big budget infrastructure projects cut through the CMCs including the cable-stayed bridge at K.R. Puram and the Outer Ring Road, the inner bylanes have remained shabby. The BCC’s Rs 100-crore flyover on Mysore Road might be one of the finest projects in terms of engineering marvel, but travel a few km into the adjacent Byatarayanapura CMC, there is no sight of roads!

“Very often, government makes fancy statements about developing CMCs. Recently, even CM Dharam S i n g h p ro m i s e d that CMC roads will be taken up by BCC for i m p rove - ment. There is hardly any progress, ’ ’ rued R. Ranganath, a resident of Bommanahalli.

The Mahadevapura CMC will shortly get an auditorium at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore. Which means, even if there is no basic amenity, auditorium is on top of the agenda.

While developmental activities are confined to Bangalore, all that the CMCs get is garbage from the city.

According to urban planners, the task of developing infrastructure in the CMCs will require not less than Rs 2,500 crore. This coupled with a realistic masterplan, timely release of grants and committed officers can breathe life into CMCs.

But the residents’ plea is simple: Give us motorable roads, water supply, UGD and efficient officers. We don’t want to compete with Bangalore but want just decent living conditions.


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