Civic Issues
The Santhe on Sunday will see citizens, activist groups and politicians coming together to discuss the city’s issues.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the success of the Steel Flyover Beda campaign, citizen activists in Bengaluru are hosting Beku Beda Santhe at Bengaluru’s Freedom Park on October 15.

Beku and Beda translates to “want” and “don’t want”, and “santhe” in Kannada means festival.

The event seeks to draw and address a host of civic problems plaguing the city— be it streets getting flooded with minimal rain or the countless potholes on Bengaluru’s roads.

The event will see panel discussions on issues related to the urban mess that Bengaluru has become. Citizens and numerous activist groups will also get to air their views on how to solve these problems.

Politicians are also expected to be part of the event.

Apart from these, the event will incorporate ideas by children and teenagers through their artwork.

“Kids and teenagers are an integral part of our society and no city planning will be complete without hearing their demands and ideas. History has proven that children have the creativity and the open mindedness to see a solution usually invisible to the conditioned adult minds. It is for this reason, we would like to invite children to the Santhe and hear them out," Lalitha Mohan of Citizens for Sustainability said.

The key demands by the activists are timely payment of salaries to pourakarmikas, increase in number of coaches in the metros and removal of political hoardings, among others.  

With the conclusion of the event, the activists will prepare a citizens’ charter— containing the ‘ayes’ and ‘nays’ and it will be presented to the political class.

The Santhe is crowdfunded and organised by Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), a citizens’ activist organisation which co-ordinated the anti-Steel flyover campaign with activists, resident welfare associations and other citizen groups.

Tara Krishnaswamy of CfB said, “Who is the city optimal for? Not for working women. Not for senior citizens. Not for construction labourers. Not for children. This is why all of us need to come and demand what we ‘beku’ and what we ‘beda’ at the santhe. Not just us, but the little residents of Bengaluru have an equal claim too, to dream up a beautiful, child friendly, safe and fun city."

Freedom fighter and activist HS Doreswamy, former Supreme Court Judge Justice Santosh Hegde and thespian Prakash Belawadi are some of the eminent personalities who will be part of the event.

The sustained spontaneous campaign by CoB against the steel flyover ultimately led to the scrapping of the controversial project by the state government.

Proposed to be built at a cost of Rs 1,791-crore, the 6.7km long flyover was to be constructed between Basaveshwara circle to Esteem Mall in Hebbal, to improve connectivity to the Bengaluru International Airport at the expense of more than 2,000 trees.