Monday, January 18, 2010


Byatarayanapura Can’t Afford To Put Up With Any More Apathy
Nirmala M Nagaraj | TNN

Bangalore: Development without accessibility; areas divided into the old and the new; contrast between roads and lanes; civic amenities or the lack of them — this, in a nutshell, is the 14-ward Byatarayanapura zone.
Posh residential lanes, planned layout, wide roads with sidewalks and lawns running on either side; grand villas and huge apartments. Needless to say, property buyers flock to Yelahanka New Satellite Town. But just a road across and the contrast hits you — potholes, narrow roads, illegal garbage sites, water shortage, absence of public toilets, etc. Welcome to Old Yelahanka.
To start with, the condition of the Government Primary School here is enough indication that things are not that bright. The school adjacent to the bus depot is littered with garbage all over. With bad toilet facility, staff and students go to houses in the neighbourhood, who are kind enough to help them, seeing their plight. But BMTC staff and passengers use the school premises as a public toilet.
Every day, even Anganwadi workers have to sweep the whole place in the morning. “People don’t use the public toilet, instead dirty the school area. We heard authorities plan to shift the school and use the space as a bus depot. Until that happens, residents have to bear with this unhygienic condition,” said V Nagaratna, resident of Yelahanka Old Town.
Without proper planning, wide roads become narrow over time. At wards like Kodigehalli, narrow roads without speed bumps and two-way traffic result in frequent accidents. Residents, fearing roadwidening and demolition of their properties, were once reluctant to complain about heavy traffic. But frequent accidents have prompted them to think otherwise.
“Due to proximity to the Ring Road, traffic has increased in our area. But oneway rule and speed bumps will lower the number of accidents. Before planning a Ring Road, authorities should have paid attention to connecting stretches,” said K Mamatha of Kodigehalli.
With caste disputes, land irregularities and inaction by BBMP, developmental work has become a seasonal affair, seen only during elections.
In Byatarayanapura, accessibility is a headache for residents. National Highway 7 (Bellary) is wide, but some wards near this highway see heavy two-way traffic, spilling onto service roads. Without speed bumps, accidents are common here. There are no underpasses, so crossing the road is a risky affair.
Also, absence of a government hospital in Byatarayanapura has forced residents to travel to Amruthahalli for treatment. Even the government school is restricted to primary classes and students have to go to Yelahanka. Since buses stop on both sides of the road, children and office-goers have to cross the highway while speeding vehicles zoom past them.
In some areas in the city, bus stands have proper roof, shielding people from the sun. But in this zone, people have to wait under the shade of trees because there are no bus shelters for them. The random crowd of passengers blocks traffic many a time.
Most of these wards are still villages, evolving into urban areas. For now, untarred and narrow roads are a dominant feature. With not-so-strict monitoring, small factories have come up in residential areas. Sound pollution is another problem for residents, and garbage collection is far worse.
At one of the lanes in Jakkur Layout, residents start their day listening to noise coming from a nearby badam powder factory. They claim authorities have ignored their pleas for help. Sound pollution is a major risk factor in this area.
People in this zone fear monsoon the most because most storm water drains have been encroached upon. So when it rains, the entire area is flooded. Residents’ demand for proper storm water drains haven’t been in vain. Sewage too has not been cleared for years, complain residents.
This concept is absent at most parts of this zone. Garbage is dumped on roadsides, vacant plots, dry lake beds, etc. Worse, BBMP workers don’t collect waste regularly. In some residential areas, drains serve as dumping grounds, preventing free flow of water. The area stinks throughout the year. Although some of the wards have prominent industrial units and IT parks, solid waste management remains an illusion.
Railway tracks criss-crossing the zone are not well-kept. Due to lack of maintenance, tracks have turned into dumping yards and slums. The lanes are littered with waste, attracting stray dogs. There’s no fencing, barriers and warning signboars, so people walk on the tracks, increasing risk of train accidents.
Pedestrians find it risky to walk at night because streetlights are rare here. Even the sidewalks are damaged. Crime rate is high in the area, and theft and murder are not rare in Byatarayanapura zone.
WE WANT... Build storm water drains before monsoon; clear encroachments Repair roads, especially those connecting residential areas with nearby highways; need underpasses and sidewalks near highways Sanitation facility is need of the hour
Water, health and sanitation


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