Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Still lying low even after three months

Still lying low even after three months
Of unfulfilled promises...
Deccan Herald

The memories of HSR Layout residents are still scarred by the recent flashfloods. And so are the roads.

The memories of HSR Layout residents are still scarred by the recent flashfloods. And so are the roads. The cracks and the craters still dominate the streets. The drainage system continues to be suffocated with plastic, garbage and weeds. The street lights have developed mood swings – they brighten up one day, blink on another. Garbage pile-ups are swiftly turning into landmarks.

With ‘flood relief’ nowhere in sight, HSR residents said there were completely disillusioned by the Bangalore Development Authority, when Deccan Herald went round last week. “You are talking about road repairs? Here, getting the authorities to pick up a dead dog is difficult,” complained T N Sonwalkar, retired director of Central Silk Board, who resides in HSR Layout VII Block.

Dr Satish Chandra, professor of psychiatry at Nimhans, pointed out that none of the promises made by the BDA, with regard to roads and drainage, have been delivered.

“The BDA promised to clean and widen the drains, but that has not been done. The roads that were cut open to make inlets for the rainwater to flow out, are yet to be rebuilt,” Dr Chandra said. A gaping four-feet by three-feet deep crater was found right in the middle of a busy street, unattended to and is without a warning sign. There was not even a traffic light to warn motorists of the danger.

The luxury of ‘door-to-door garbage collection’, available in BMP limits, is not there for HSR Layout residents, complained Shanta Murugendrappa. “There is no provision for disposal of garbage. We throw it in an open area near our house where a lorry comes and picks the garbage every two-three days. We had to clean the neighbouring vacant sites ourselves after the rains, as no one from the authorities came forward,” she said.


Meanwhile, Agara Lake, where all drainage lines culminate, was choked with plastic and muck, even as a huge board, announcing rejuvenation plans to be undertaken by the S M Krishna Government in 2003, stands ignored. According to strollers, there has been no ‘rejuvenation’ activity taken up by the BDA, before or after the October floods.


The heavy rains in October last year left a trail of tragedies, especially in Bangalore’s low-lying areas. Flooded homes, battered roads, lack of electricity and drinking water and authorities’ apathy drove Bangaloreans to a state of abject helplessness. The authorities responded to their woes with a set of development-oriented promises. Three months later, Deccan Herald revisited these areas to find out if any of these promises had been delivered. The series ‘Still lying low’ will look into the work-in-progress.


What work? There is no work going on here. All the houses on our road was innundated during the rains, and we had to clean the area ourselves, with no help from the BDA. We had to live for four days amidst waters that were full of filth and snakes.

— Shanta Murugendrappa, housewife

There are several dangerous potholes which have not been repaired for the last three months. The dirty water in the side drains has stagnated, and there are so many mosquitoes, we cannot even open the windows. BDA has not taken action on several letters.

– T N Sonwalkar, Retd CSB Director

There are plastic covers and rubbish choking the end-point of drains at Agara Lake. I have never seen any clean-up work taken up here. There is a perpetual stink from the lake which deters people from coming here.

— Aarti Suryavanshi, Housewife


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