Thursday, March 25, 2010

Waiting for magic that is out of box

Waiting for magic that is out of box

The parks here are showing the way in water management. Women, on their part, are managing waste with the help of an NGO. But with a long summer ahead, they are also worried about an impending water crisis, writes Vaishalli Chandra

Citizens' initiative is good but corporators could make a difference in Hebbal

Vaishalli Chandra

While many residents crib at lack of hygiene and garbage clearance, homemakers in MHS Layout of Anandnagar lent their whole-hearted support to the NGO Full Circle that works in waste management. Waste is collected and ragpickers are employed to sift waste. Small though the initiative is, it keeps the 120-home layout spick and span.
"We started a garbage management programme last year," says Anjana Iyer of Full Circle. Many parks in the locality have potential to help generate manure. The agency plans to do more in this direction. "We want the elected representatives to involve us in the workings of our wards," says Anjana.
Elsewhere, Hebbal faces civic challenges such as water shortage, piled garbage, poor sanitation, unmarked speed breakers and unsafe roads.
All the eight wards say in unison that the most pressing problem is water paucity, especially since the summer has set in. While the water table is receding on account of unbridled construction and destruction of greenery, bore wells are not helping much in many wards. Here too, people are heavily dependent on water tankers especially in Ganganagar, Hebbal areas.
"We used to get water every alternate day in SBM Colony. Now it comes in three or four days," says 28-year-old Janaki K of the colony.
Garbage dumps and erratic collection of waste prove another worry of the wards. "The army of stray dogs makes it difficult for morning walkers," complains homemaker Lakshamma. "Garbage is even dumped in front of the Ganesha temple, opposite the HOPCOMS and Punjab National Bank," says Dr Radhika Rao, a resident. If a temple precinct is not sacrosanct for litterbugs, what to think of other places, she says.
Ganganagar and Sanjaynagar face what residents term as 'hawker menace'. The unwelcome presence of many autorickshaws eats away space along the roads. Residents would have tolerated them had the drivers been behaving properly.
"When one tries to engage them, the greedy drivers want the passenger to go where they want to go," says Devika Jain, a woman resident of Sanjaynagar, angrily.
The residents of Ganganagar are upset with the magic box that has made pedestrian life miserable. "We cannot cross over to the other side," says Gitanjali, a school teacher and resident of Aswathnagar.
Residents want corporators to use their good offices to prevail upon the BMTC to reorganise their schedules and set up minimum facilities like proper bus shelters for people if they want their buses to be a popular transport. The bus bay near Baptist Hospital was shifted some time ago and people are now forced to stand under a blazing sun, says Hemalatha Jacob, a nursing student.
"It's no use observing a 'bus day' once a year or month. It has to be made a habit for which the BMTC must help us," she adds.
Lack of parks and playgrounds for children makes C Sharada, a teacher residing in Nagenahalli, fume with rage.
"There are so many parks in some areas but Nagenahalli has none. Where will our children play and elders go for a walk? We need some green space to spend quality time quietly," she says.
But many in Hebbal constituency, touted to be next tech hub of Bangalore, want to dispel the gloom and point out that Hebbal will emerge well on all fronts. It will be the first constituency in which all the 10 major public parks have implemented rainwater harvesting system.
"Hebbal will be the first area whose parks are no longer dependent on bore wells or the water supplied by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board," says Rajan Mathew, a research scholar with Bangalore University.
BBMP (horticulture) east zone superintendent N Shivanna says how Hebbal can become a role model for others to follow in rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharging. Projects are in the offing and minister Katta Subrahmanyam has taken a special interest in water harvesting.
Anjana says Hebbal's would-be corporators can give a big push to the constituency's development. "The ward committee system is a good idea and it can work well."
The elected representatives can make ward committees vibrant and help in evolving several popular initiatives to improve civic amenities with or without the help of the BBMP, she says


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