Friday, August 29, 2008


There’s No Point Just Fretting And Fuming. Civil Society Too Can Play An Active Role. So...

It’s difficult to avoid bad roads in the city, when almost every third road has more potholes than a decent stretch of tarmac. Residents, more so the associations which they form and put the force of numbers behind their cause, are up in arms against civic authorities for repair and maintenance of roads.
But, does anyone listen to Resident Welfare Associations? Nobody among the authorities, RWAs complain. Several RWAs in the city have retired civil engineers and other experts who can give authorities not only their suggestions for improvements, but also provide sound technical support if and when needed. Most are willing to physically stand by the roads and supervise works, if need be.
H Keshawakumar, member of the Jayanagar 4th Block RWA, said government officials would never give room for such intervention from residents of the area. “Roads in Jayanagar are fairly all right but the ones in other areas are in very bad shape. We give representations by the dozen to the authorities, but nothing came of it,” he said.
Expressing his and the association’s willingness to help in supervision and in giving suggestions to improve roads, he said government officials would never allow residents to directly participate in the works.
Residents all over the city would like to help make their roads and their city look better. There are suggestions aplenty and so is the willingness to help. “But who is bothered?” asks Vijay Kumar Mishra, secretary, UVCE Layout Welfare Association, West of Chord Road. “We are willing to help the civic authorities at all stages — be it in execution, planning or supervision. But no one listens to us or bothers with our suggestions or complaints,” he added.
Members of RWAs all over the city echo this sentiment. There are times when discrepancies in the entire contract for repair works also impede their ability to intervene more actively. Ranganathan, secretary of Residents Forum in Jeevan Bima Nagar said most residents would gladly inspect all the works on roads. “The BBMP has specifications for laying roads. In some places, these specifications are not given to contractors at all. What do we monitor then?” he asks.
RWAs act as watchdogs to the way civic authorities function and there is tremendous drive among them to not just give suggestions, but also intervene directly and help make Bangalore better. But all they are reduced to is to giving endless representations that only gather dust in offices and under other files. All residents get to do when their roads are being dug up is stand by as mute witnesses.


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