Saturday, June 23, 2007

ISRO residents cry for help

ISRO residents cry for help
Madhumitha B
Improper planning on the part of the government has led to an endless list of problems faced by ISRO residents.

Who does a citizen go to when every government department turns away from the problem, blatantly refusing to take responsibility? The big question that the Space Colony Welfare Association (SCWA) is asking this government. Clogged drains, deplorable conditions of roads and lack of cooperation from government authorities is making their lives increasingly difficult, they say.
ISRO Layout, off Kanakapura Road that houses 924 plots, was formed over 15 years ago by the residents with support from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). Starting with the roads to developing parks and restoring the Deverakere lake nearby, everything was an initiative taken by the residents who were hoping to create a home within a larger home. Development led to forming of other areas around the layout and improper planning on the part of the government has led to an endless list of problems faced by ISRO residents.
“Sewage water from the neighbouring CMC areas like Bhikasipura and Konanakunte are directed into the storm water drain that runs through our layout resulting in clogging of drains and breeding of mosquitoes posing a severe health hazard to residents. This sewage water then passes through the forest area and into the lake that we helped restore a couple of years ago. Heavy showers causes floods in several houses damaging property and the stench is unbearable. Every civic department we approach ignores the problem by shifting the blame on another department. The bottom line — we continue to suffer,” says C S Prasad, president of SCWA.
“Residents ensure that tax is paid regularly to the government. We have even made provision for senior citizens and working people who might not find the time to pay their taxes by inviting the concerned department to our association office for a day providing them with all the facilities required. This year alone, we have paid over Rs 10 lakh as tax from 325 houses to the BBMP,” says B V Nagaraja, secretary, SCWA. “Where is our money going if not to give us better facilities?” question the founder members of the association who once got a response from the local corporator saying collecting tax from them did not make it imperative for the government to invest it in their layout. So what is the responsibility of the government, is what they are asking?
The area that has been under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) (as it called now) for many years has received no cooperation from this department since it took over, according to residents. “The roads that were asphalted by us during the formation needs work on it now but the BBMP is not coming forward to help us. Some of the main roads are being worked on but that’s about it. Who is going to sort out the sewage problem, the lake that is being destroyed and forest land being occupied by people?,” ask the members.
“Only one park, out of the many, has been developed by the BBMP but residents are not allowed to use it.
The key has been handed over to a person staying near the park who always keeps it locked and there is nobody responsible for the maintenance of the park,” says Prasad.
The Devarakere lake was restored over two years ago by the residents of ISRO layout, ISRO scientists and the forest department but even this is under peril what with the sewage water seeping in causing grave danger to the aquatic life as well as citizens living near the lake. “According to geologists, this forest area is very good for water catchment but with every passing day, more trees are cut and the lake polluted,” says Padmanabhan, one of the founder members.
Realising that dealing with multiple departments isn’t going to sort out their problems, the members approached the Urban Development Authority hoping for some positive response but in vain. “Our weekends are spent in shuttling from one civic department to another or trying to provide temporary relief to the residents on our own,” says Prasad.
What the residents want to know is when is the government going to wake up and realise their responsibility towards its citizens?


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