Sunday, August 30, 2009

It’s a living hell

It’s a living hell
Residents of Vittal Mallya Road, Walton Road and Lavelle Road take to the streets, having had enough of the indifference by the BBMP and BWSSB

Enough! This was the unanimous cry among the residents of Vittal Mallya Road, Walton Road and Lavelle Road who took to the streets on Saturday to protest against the endless civic problems plaguing these roads that are designated as part of the Central Business District.
“You name the problem and we have it. One literally has to look for the roads under the deep gashes left behind by the various service providers who dig them up to lay cables but forget to close them. Walton Street has not been re-tarred in close to two decades. Bangalore has one heavy shower, and you need a boat to navigate the streets. This level of indifference is unacceptable when we are among the highest tax payers in the city,” said Purushottam Jain, a resident of Lavelle Road.
His sentiments were echoed by Dilip D’Souza, another resident. “The last time it rained, the basement of our building had eight feet of water and cars got submerged. Besides making our mechanics very happy, we also paid Rs 14,750 to the fire department for pumping out the water. I think I spent close to Rs 2 lakh to repair my cars and get the electricity meter and generator fixed. We also have to deal with the problem of mosquitos in the area because of the water stagnation. The situation was not this bad before,” he said.
The residents allege the problem of flooding arises every year like clock work because of the inefficient storm water drain and the encroachment of the ‘Raja Kaluve’ that runs into Kanteerava stadium. “We are a low lying area and the water, be it sewage or rain water, flows down from Upper Vittal Mallya Road, Lavelle Road and Walton Road to flood the street starting from Sunny’s Restaurant. Despite repeated requests to the BBMP, they have yet to rectify the situation with the storm water drain and the Raja Kaluve that has been built upon by private coffee shops,” R K Sawhney, a resident of P G D’Souza Layout, says, but concedes that after the BWSSB changed the sewage pipes a few months ago, the dirty water keeps off the road.
What is ironic about the situation is that names like Ramesh Ramanathan, founder of Janagrahaa, and Capt Gopinath, who recently took over as the chairman of the Infrastructure Committee set up by the Chief Minister, live in the area. “The BBMP told us that the contractor abandoned the project of laying the roads midway. But the real problem is that there are too many departments that handle civic issues. We need one authority,” said Gopinath.
The rest of the residents say that BBMP is still hiding behind the Lokayukta case against it about the road encroachment by UB City. “How long can they do it?” asked Hema B, another resident.
But what is most frightening to residents is the threat of more commercial establishments coming up in the locality. Lavelle Road holds the distinction of having no footpath at all and none of the coffee houses have parking space for their customers. “As smokers are not allowed to smoke inside the coffee houses, they congregate on the roads. How can the authorities allow more establishments to come up when there is no parking place for the existing places?” asked Bernarda D’silva, a 65-year-old woman.
Meanwhile, BBMP chief engineer (major works) Chikkarayappa said the tender notification for relaying Lavelle and Walton roads have been done. “The tender process is on and work will start at the earliest. The MoU between theprivate contractor and BBMP is also through for maintenance of the Vittal Mallya Road.”
Atul Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, City Properties Maintenance Company Limited, who is responsible for the upkeep of UB City, also confirmed that the MoU between the BBMP and UB Group and Prestige Group is through. “The approval for the MoU from the BBMP came through last month and in the next three months, we will have a world-class road,” he said.


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