Sunday, October 25, 2009

Early to rise, early to work!

Early to rise, early to work!
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, who faced a rapid-fire session orchestrated by the students of Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for Women, says people should leave early for work instead of blaming the roads, at least till the projects are ready

Ever since he took charge as the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, IAS officer Bharat Lal Meena, has never faced a rapid-fire round. But on Saturday, he did! And the posers did not come from the media nor from residents’ welfare associations, but from the students of Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for Women in Malleswaram 18th Cross. The students and even some lecturers bombarded him with questions on a variety of civic issues nagging Bangalore, all in less than an hour. Here are a few excerpts:

• Gayatri Shankar (student): Development in the city seems to be taking place only in some pockets. For instance, areas in and around Bangalore International Airport are witnessing rapid development but other areas continue to be neglected. Why the bias?
Meena: We want to give a good impression to the people who come into the city, so the focus is on areas in and around BIA. Apart from this, we are developing the city in stages. We will look into what you have just said.

• Malini M S: Delay seems to have become an integral part of every project that the BBMP has taken up. Why is it so?
Meena: Today, Bangalore has expanded three times more than what it used to be five years ago. In such a scenario, resource mobilisation is difficult since we do it with the help of the taxes paid by citizens. Tax recovery is easy in old areas, but difficult in new areas as people build a few buildings here and there. This is why there is a delay in developing new areas.

• Shilpa: BBMP has been beautifying walls across the city. But the paint being used contains lead which is hazardous. Why is BBMP aiding pollution?
Meena: Don’t you colour your houses? If you look at it that way, everything is polluting the environment and it is not just our graffiti.
• Shilpa: But our house colours are not like BBMP paintings...
Meena: We will see what we can do to control this. We will try to use paint without lead in future.

• Sumita : Why does the BBMP lay roads and dig them up within a few months again? If they have to be dug up, then why make them in the first place?
Meena: There is lack of coordination between government departments. For example, we would have just laid a road, but the BWSSB would need to dig the road for laying pipelines. We cannot avoid it.

• Neha Pande: BBMP has been talking about banning plastic and making plastic free zones in the city. But this has had no results. What steps are you taking to curb this?
Meena: There should be a conscious effort on the part of the public to stop using plastic. It is mostly the educated classes which use plastic bags. I

• Hemalatha: By the time I reach college from home, I have to cross 25 speed breakers. They are not scientific and hurt the back. Why is the BBMP adding more road humps to the already existing ones?
Meena: We are dismantling the unscientific road humps and replacing them if necessary with better ones. Some of them are yet to be identified. But we will look into the matter.

• Shruti: I stay near National Highway 4. There are no streetlights on my street since the last ten years. And no proper roads too. Will we ever have proper infrastructure on that road?
Meena: There are issues we are trying to solve on NH4, but they need more time. We will sort it out soon.

• Shwetha: Though Bangalore has enough public toilets, no one uses them. People find it easier to urinate on the road sides. What are the measures being taken to tackle this menace?
Meena: This is due to lack of information, education and communication. But this has to come to people internally and they must make a conscious effort to keep the city clean.

• Prof Anuradha K S (Principal, Pre-University College): Garbage collectors litter more than the people themselves. It has to be taken care of.
Meena: We are trying to do our best as regards this matter. We will ensure your problem is solved.

• Poornima S: I travel to college on a cycle. It is not easy to ride one on Bangalore roads. Why can’t the BBMP make lanes for cycles so that we can be safe?
Meena: If we make separate lanes for cycles, motorists will start riding on them too. It is not right for motorists to drive rashly. We will see if a solution can be arrived at.

• Prof Anuradha K S (Principal, Pre-University College): The city has so many projects underway and it is good to see all the improvement. But due to the projects, students and teachers come to college late and blame the road blocks and deviations they have to take to reach on time. Can the BBMP do something about this?
Meena: People should realise that these projects are being implemented to make life easier. A Rs 22,000 crore plan for infrastructure development is underway and it will be implemented in two years time. With Metro in place, punctuality will surely come back. But for now, people should leave early from their homes to reach their offices and colleges on time.

• Prof Lokesh: To avoid corruption, close circuit television cameras (CCTVs) can be placed in all BBMP offices. But why has BBMP not opted for this?
Meena: Corruption is a relative term. If parents don’t show their children the right direction, then that too can be termed as corruption. At BBMP, we have online complaint registration cells.


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