Friday, May 29, 2009

BDA's work leads to slums in KEB Layout

BDA's work leads to slums in KEB Layout

Construction workers have put up over 25 huts on either side of KEB Layout Main Road. Heavy traffic endangers their lives but they have little choice. Basavaraj Itnaal reports

Basavaraj Itnaal

The state government had entrusted some road works to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to be taken up in the jurisdiction of BBMP. The decision was taken under the pretext that Palike had no adequate staff. Apparently, BDA is not doing any better as its road works have created temporary slums.
The case in point is KEB Layout in Sanjayanagar ward.
Last month the BDA took up road work on the KEB Layout Main Road but even as the work is completed, the construction workers whom the contractor brought have set up huts and settled next to the KEB Layout Park near Rangabharana Kalakendra.
Over 25 huts on either side of the road next to the park have not only become an eyesore but also a health hazard to the poor labourers. It also exposes them to the risk of traffic on the main road.
Muniraju, assistant executive engineer, BBMP blames BDA. But isn't his duty to clear encroachments on the roadsides?
"When BDA has allowed its contractor to use the roadsides to house the labourers, I will be in trouble if I took action," he says.
SM Joshi, assistant executive engineer, BDA, on the other says the road work is not over and the workers will stay for another month on the roadsides. But why cannot the contractor provide safe shelter to his workers?
Venkatram Reddy, contractor, says: "I understand the huts are not to be there. I will find another place and shift them in 10-15 days."
About 500 morning walkers use the KEB Layout park and two schools are close by. Interestingly, JD(S) leader C Narayanaswamy lives a few yards away and former minister Dr Malak Reddy lives on the next street.
The construction workers, all hailing from Raichur district, have no clue as to where they ought to be housed by the contractor.
One of the workers, Mayamma says: "We were employed in the asphalting of this road. We were asked to set up huts here and we obeyed."

Living dangerously
But what about safety while sleeping on the roadside?
Do they feel comfortable in running kitchen by the side of the road? "This is our fate. We have come seeking work and we have to adjust," she says.
On the other hand, for Sameer, a marketing professional who drives on the road every day, it is scary. "These people live mostly on the road. They have put firewood all over the road and they virtually live in the middle of the road. Whenever I drive on the road I'm scared for their safety," he says.


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