Tuesday, December 26, 2006

KR Puram can’t wait for the merger!

KR Puram can’t wait for the merger!

Deccan Herald

Bangalore: Eager, hopeful and a tad apprehensive -- that sums up the mood among officials, elected representatives and the general public in the Krishnarajapuram City Municipal Council on the impending merger of their local body with the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and other surrounding local bodies to form Greater Bangalore.

The population of K R Puram is 1,86,453 (2001 census); the current number is estimated at over 2.5 lakh. A large part of its working population has to make the daily trip to the City proper for work, and accounts for a major chunk of the peak-hour traffic on Old Madras Road.

Drinking water shortage, an understaffed local body and tax-dodging property owners are said to be the bane of K R Puram. Many layouts have cropped up in revenue lands over the past few years.

One argument goes thus: unauthorised as the layouts are, their residents do not a pay a penny to the CMC, but the CMC machinery is under pressure to provide them basic facilities for, after all, the residents are the votebanks for local politicians!

But Greater Bangalore is looked forward to mainly because the BWSSB will be dutybound to provide them drinking water.

There are also those who note that the success of Greater Bangalore will depend much on how effectively the available State and Central funds will be utilised.

Bare facts

What follows are some basic facts relating to K R Puram as it exists today:

About 15 per cent of the 44-sq-km area that makes up the CMC is industrial. HAL, ITI and the Devasandra Industrial Area account for it.

A total of Rs 3.11 crore was collected in tax by the CMC in fiscal 2005-06. This is set to go up substantially this fiscal as up to November the collection has been Rs 5 crore. This rise is attributed to the revised land value in the area. There are about 85,645 properties in the tax net, 78,789 of which are residential.

But while that is a plus factor, staff shortage is acutely felt in the CMC at the Group C and Group D levels. For example, though two stenographer posts are sanctioned, both are vacant. Much the same goes for water supply and sanitation, with 100 Group D posts sanctioned, but only nine filled. And for pourakarmikas? Of the 250 posts okayed, only 15 are on the job.

Waste management

As much as 60 tonnes of solid waste (from domestic and general commercial establishments) is generated each day. Cement cisterns as garbage bins at street corners and road junctions are still the order (Note that such public bins have been largely phased out in BMP.)

Though Stree Shakti has been roped in for door-to-door waste collection and dumping it in the bins, from which another set of contractors will collect and dispose it, the general public is not helping the cause: they just don’t want to pay the monthly collection fee of Rs 25.

The contractors are expected to collect and dispose the waste from the bins at the dumping yard at least once in two days, but they don’t seem to do it.

Water supply

While Cauvery water supply pipelines are still being laid, many a deadline for completing the same have lapsed. Result: 286 borewells and 50 hand pumps meet the larger part of the CMC’s water supply needs. A certain part of the needs is met through bulk purchase from the BWSSB (from the point of the feederlines available in Whitefield under Mahadevapura).

As for sanitation, soak/percolation pits are still the order of the day. Soak pits, mind, mean contamination of groundwater.

Rickety roads

The estimated length of the available road network is 390 km, only 20 per cent of which is developed. The development/upgradation of roads is awaiting the completion of water supply and sewage lines by the BWSSB.

But the BWSSB is too busy laying water supply lines and there is no saying when the sanitary or sewage lines will be laid.

As for the remaining green (read agricultural) space in K R Puram, Meddahalli, Bhattarahalli, Segehalli are some of the areas that still boast of a few ragi fields, coconut groves and banana plantations in the CMC areas.


Poor tax revenues

GB will mean works will move faster and there will be more funds for development. Our council has approved a resolution even to forgo the remainder of our term in favour of GB. Non-payment of taxes has been our main problem. Since it is the SAS, people either pay no taxes or pay much less than they actually should. We’ve also lost out in the past few years because no betterment tax was collected.

Anthony Swamy, Chairman, CWC Standing Committee on Works

15 km is too long

Non-conversion has meant that we have not been able to allot even house numbers. How then can we collect property tax? We hardly get funds from the State government. We are just 15 km from the City proper. Shouldn’t we get higher grants then? GB will solve all this. The first task should be regularisation of constructions that have come up on revenue land.

Manjunath, two-time corporator

Sooner the better

CMCs suffer a lot because of funds crunch. We are in effect asked to sustain ourselves through unauthorised layouts. The sooner we have Greater Bangalore, the better for us.


former ITI officer and corporator


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