Residents in the constituency say they are facing a never-ending struggle for better roads, uninterrupted electricity and drinking water.

 What development Residents of Bengalurus Mahadevapura upset at govt apathyParvathamma
Karnataka Elections Karnataka 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 15:37

Ask Asha Devi, a 35-year-old vegetable vendor in Hoody village in Mahadevapura constituency, about the development in the area, she retorts, “What change? Water comes for just 2 hours once in a week. There is no electricity, no buses to get to the market.”

A suburb in the outskirts of the city, Mahadevapura is the hub of IT companies and export-oriented organisations, but people living in the area face major civic problems that the government seems to be least bothered about. This, even though elections are around the corner.

Traffic snarls

With the rising density of population, traffic issues in the area are increasing. Traffic jams are common during rush hour every day. Speaking to TNM, a spokesperson for Whitefield Rising (WR), a citizen action group working for people in Whitefield (a locality in Mahadevapura), narrated the woes of the residents.

She says, “Whitefield is the money-making, orphaned child of Bengaluru. The development and facilities are extremely poor. The metro work, which should have been started long time back, has made the traffic worse. Thousands of cars come from the Outer Ring Road towards Whitefield every day, choking the flow of traffic… and there is no comprehensive plan from the government. So many shops have opened up on both sides of the road and hundreds of people try to cross the road, putting their lives in danger. The government wants to make vehicles go faster but what about the pedestrians?”

Arvind Limbavali of the BJP is the incumbent MLA from the constituency and this time will be facing AC Srinivas of the Congress.

Nisha R, an IT professional who has been living in a gated community in Whitefield for the past 7 years, talks about another instance of government apathy. “A young man died while crossing the road last December and people in the locality had to protest for 2 months, asking for a skywalk so that people can cross the roads safely. The officials finally agreed and promised to build a skywalk within the next 3 months, but work on the project has not even started yet.”

The WR spokesperson, who did not wish to be named, added, “The government is supposed to widen the roads but they have not done it so far. Breaking a footpath or a median is not widening the road. There are no alternate roads in the area to beat the traffic… the traffic jams add hours to our daily commute time.”

Lake encroachment

The Bellandur and Varthur lakes in the constituency have been reduced to a dumping place for garbage. The situation has become so bad that recently the National Green Tribunal sent a team of officials to inspect the situation and recommend a future course of action.

The WR spokesperson said, “The government is itself a culprit in this regard as it is not only approving projects that encroach the lakes, but is itself encroaching the catchment areas to build roads and lay high-voltage power lines. The builder mafia wants to capture the lakes and build apartments and malls there.”

Ineffective garbage collection

Garbage collection measures by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have been under immense scrutiny in the city and in Mahadevapura, as well, the situation is equally pathetic.

Nisha says, “Garbage is not collected for days and when some irresponsible residents throw garbage around the lakes, it is not picked up for weeks.”

The WR spokesperson even blamed the government for adding to the mess, saying, “BBMP trucks dump garbage into the Varthur Lake. The government is not paying the civil workers and not taking any initiative in this matter. It seems that it doesn’t want to solve our problems.”

‘Govt has done nothing for us’

When TNM spoke to roadside vendors in the area, it turned out that the conditions in which they work are appalling. Sudha Rani and Rekha Devra, who have been running tea stalls in the area for 10 years, said, “There are no public washrooms on the entire Whitefield road. Even the hospitals around here do not allow us to use their washrooms.”

Rekha Devra

The WR spokesperson confirmed this and added that the organisation had built two public washrooms in nearby areas using CSR funds and is making efforts to construct new ones.

People living in other parts of Mahadevapura face grimmer problems, as they struggle even for their basic rights.

Das, a 34-year-old bakery owner in Hoody village, says, “There are constant power cuts and the roads are terrible.”

Das

Parvathamma, a 75-year-old woman who sells lemons by the roadside, says, “I have been living here for 10 years and the government has done nothing for me. I haven’t received my old-age pension for years… they don’t even give ration rice. Yenu kottilla (They haven’t given me anything)!”

Shantala, a 22-year-old woman working in a toy shop in a mall at Hope Farm junction, is a first-time voter and has been living in the area for her entire life. She says she is yet to get a home under a government housing scheme, despite countless letters, applications and efforts. She says, “We have all the documents like Aadhaar, Voter ID, ration card, etc. but still we live in a rented accommodation. My family lives a hand-to-mouth existence and we have tried everything to get a cheap place through government programmes but in vain. I will vote carefully this time, as my issues matter to me.”

‘People should make an informed choice’

Rubbishing claims that Whitefield residents are planning to boycott the elections as a form of protest, the WR spokesperson said, “We have been deeply engaged on the ground to get people from all communities to vote… we want people to actively participate in the elections. We want people to make an informed choice. Since September 2017, we are running a campaign called Million Voters Rising, which aims at enrolling at least 1 lakh voters from the Whitefield area. Residential societies in the region are also incentivising voting this time. We have held discussions with candidates from all the parties and presented them with our charter of demands.”

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