Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Shantala Nagar echoes the City’s woes

Shantala Nagar echoes the City’s woes
G Manjusainath

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is gearing up for the much-awaited elections on February 21. Continuing its comprehensive coverage of the City’s civic problems through the 'Citisense' platform, Deccan Herald shifts the focus towards the impending polls. Taking one key ward in every constituency, the coverage continues...

Re-christening Richmond Town as “Shantala Nagar” has not brought about a change for the people living in the area.

Although located in the City’s central business zone, Richmond Town and surrounding areas are no different from any other part of the City in terms of civic woes. Piled up garbage, open drains, choked underground drains and the shoddy developmental activities are all part of the Shantala Nagar Ward as well.

Thanks to the BBMP polls, public works are being implemented on a war-footing basis in the area. But, the residents are not happy with the quality of works. Surprisingly, the biggest critics are the BJP leaders residing in the area. They say the quality is not maintained, some works had exceeded the deadline.

“It is good that a lot of works are on, but I feel there should a mechanism to see that the quality is maintained and deadline is adhered to. Tragically some roads have not been given proper slope. So we have reasons to believe that the road would not last longer,” said a BJP leader, requesting anonymity.

The pavements are laid by using filter-sand as it is available at a cheap price. The fate of such pavements is obvious- the slabs of the pavement would give way soon. The slum behind Victoria Layout in Shantala Nagar Ward still has open drains, which are the breeding ground for mosquitoes. The underground drains have not been laid there yet.

Wing Cdr M R Shirazi, a member of the Langford Residents Welfare Association, says the works in the area have gained momentum and the quality rating could be put at 80 per cent . “What more to expect from this? I am devoting six days a week to oversee the works going on in the ward,” said Shirazi. He was happy that the RWA has done a good job in the area in getting the quality work done.

Though a big ward spread up to Sarjapur, the voter population lives only in 20 per cent of the area. The rest of the area is under the control of Defence and there are skirmishes between Defence personnel and civilians as well.

“The major issue of the ward is Maya Bazaar located within the Defence area. The Defence personnel are objecting to it saying that the land belongs to them. But the local residents say that they have been staying there for around 50 years and they should be allowed to continue,” say Sridevi Rajan.

Since Maya Bazaar deals with the weaker sections of society, it forms a major voter base for politicians. The potential candidates feel the elite may not queue up before the voting booths on the day of polling.

Shantala Nagar is a key ward of the Shantinagar Assembly constituency. Here’s what the local MLA, N A Harris has to say on the constituency as a whole. The constituency, he says, needs a lot of overhauling as the population multiplies each day.

On the garbage and sanitary issues:

The Underground Drainage System is still ancient. We need to change them and ensure that the pipes are replaced. On the garbage trouble, we are unhappy with the current package system.

On the quality of works:

While 99 per cent of the projects are ascertained by me to be in good condition, there are certain patches, where due to the growing competition between contractors bidding for the job, quality may have suffered.

On the possible solutions:

We need to ensure that a bar is placed before the tender is awarded. A minimum guarantee period of three to five years needs to be extracted by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials before commissioning the work.


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