Shivaji Nagar: No infra support for the traders’ hub

A constituency situated in central Bangalore, Shivaji Nagar which consists of trading hub in and around the iconic Russell Market and Bamboo Bazaar and affluent wards like Jaymahal and Vasanth Nagar, is in the general category. Known for edifices of religious and historical significance such as St.Mary’s Basilica and Jumma Masjid in Shivaji Nagar and Someshwara temple and Gurudwara in Halasuru ward, the constituency has a large Tamil and Urdu-speaking population. With a total of 19 contestants including 11 independents but no women, this area houses the Karnataka headquarters of the Indian National Congress (INC) on Queen’s road, Janata Dal (United) in Sampangiram Nagar and Welfare Party of India in Tasker Town.

Key issues

Water shortage, insufficient sanitation, garbage mounds – the challenges that exist across the city, are visible in Shivaji Nagar constituency too. Neither the civic bodies (BBMP and BWSSB) nor elected representatives have done much to improve the situation despite repeated requests from the residents. But the following are some of the problems that stand out alongside.

Livelihood: In July 2010, street vendors near the Shivaji Nagar BMTC bus terminus and Bazar Street in Ulsoor were evicted without prior notice, alternate space or compensation, although a few of them have returned. Meetings that proposed alternatives held by the Beedhi Vyaparigala Hakkotaya Anadolana with the BBMP Mayor and executives, have yielded a few oral assurances but nothing beneficial to the vendors. Further, some of the hawkers have been rendered homeless due to their inability to afford even tiny rented accommodation.

Traders inside the Russell Market who lost goods worth lakhs of rupees in a fire that broke out in February 2012 have not received adequate compensation from the BBMP. Apart from this, they are forced to spend up to Rs.3000 per month on temporary power connections as their electricity supply has not been restored since the fire accident, according to Zaheer (name changed), the son of a vegetable store keeper.

Public Transport and Traffic: Although BMTC buses ply throughout the constituency, the commute takes extra time due to many unidirectional (one-way) roads in parts of Vasanth Nagar, Bharathi Nagar, Sampangiram Nagar and Shivaji Nagar wards. Also, as some of the roads in Sampangiram Nagar and Shivaji Nagar are narrow and crowded, traffic management is poor or non-existent.

Homelessness: Due to the existence of the Cantonment Railway and BMTC bus stations and opportunities for low wage unorganised work, many homeless persons are visible especially at night in Shivaji Nagar ward. The BBMP has provided a shelter here but its location is inconvenient for intended residents.

Health: Although government hospitals like Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital exist, they do not serve financially disadvantaged patients satisfactorily. As per Selvi, a domestic worker whose daughter was born there, many of the tests and medicines are prescribed to be obtained near the hospital but outside which implies that they must be paid for. Economically backward patients are compelled to tip the staff regularly for availing services which are supposed to be free. On the contrary, politicians, government officials and those connected with them are able to access facilities easily.

Voices

Seventy-year-old Sunanda N, a resident of Jaymahal ward for over two decades, shared her worries: "Crossing busy thoroughfares such as Nandidurga or Jaymahal road is unsafe for anyone. The former road has no median (divider) and the latter lacks traffic signals and lighting. Nor are the traffic police personnel ever present. Further, either parts of the roads or the pavements are often in a state of disrepair but never restored to a usable condition. Garbage is cleared but dumped in vacant spots or street corners. The local BBMP councillor has participated in meetings held to discuss solutions to these issues but hardly acts on them".

"The local police and ruffians trouble people like me. As a woman, I have also experienced sexual harassment. But I have nowhere else to go", revealed Puttalayamma, a friendly cobbler aged around 50 years who stays in the narrow lanes of Shivaji Nagar ward.

Electoral Statistics

Wards: Ramaswamy Palya, Jayamahal, Halsoor, Bharathi Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Vasanth Nagar, Sampangiram Nagar

In 2013, there are 1,67,142 voters in Shivaji Nagar. The 2008 assembly elections had 80,363 voters contributing to a polling percentage of 47.91. R. Rhoshan Baig of INC defeated Nirmalkumar Surana of the BJP by a margin of 10,396 votes which amounted to 12.94% of total valid votes polled.

2013 – Candidate profiles

Shivaji Nagar has been dominated politically by the Indian National Congress. 59-year old incumbent MLA R. Roshan Baig is a five-time MLA, former Karnataka minister and the vice president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Four of the seven BBMP councillors also belong to this national party. Baig was acquitted in the multi-crore stamp paper scam but was forced to resign as minister. He has been accused in cases of possessing disproportionate assets and cheating a real estate developer. To get a sense of Baig’s achievements as an MLA, click here.

Nirmalkumar Surana, a former MLA from Bharati Nagar and the state in-charge of the ST Morcha and state vice-president of BJP, was the runner up in the 2008 assembly elections. Surana also has been accused in rioting and kidnap cases.

A total of 19 men of whom 11 are independents, are contesting the Karnataka legislative assembly elections this year.

Main candidates:

Candidate Party Assets/ Liabilities/ Income Brief profile
Abbas Ali Bohra (61) JD(S) 163064260
25055000
2266981
10th, Self-employment
Dr. Ashok Kumar Xavier (69) BSRC Assets: 10139300
Liability: 1000000
Income: 301309
 
I. R. Perumal (60) KJP 61924576
Income: 1873631
Post-graduate, Retired IAS Officer
Nirmal Surana (49) BJP Asset: 53538304
Liability:
28142633
Income:
2123948
D. Pharma, business finance
 
(1):IPC Sections – 143-145-147- 149-341-342-353 – Other Details – CC NO 22335/04 HALASURU XTH ACMM COURT
R. Roshan Baig (59) INC Asset: Rs 19.7 Cr
Liability: Rs 7.6 Cr
Income: Rs 90.9 L
Law graduate, Social Worker
 
(1):IPC Sections – – Other Details – Lokayuktha Court- Fir No. 66/2012 Dt. 03/08/2012 (On this case cognizance’s is not taken and is under investigation)
(2):IPC Sections – – Other Details – Fir No. 0230 dt. 24/01/2010- Bharthinagar Police Station- Bangalore. (On this case cognizance is not taken and is under investigation)
Rizwan Asad (45) JD(U) Asset: 13.9 L Journalism Diploma, Journalist
Shaik Bahadur (57) BSP Asset: Rs 15.8 L + 5 acres inherited agricultural land
Liability: 5L loan
Matriculation, Running railway canteen
Syed Saleem (32) SJPK Asset: Rs. 10,000 Law graduate, Advocate

To view the list of all candidates and their symbols, click here.

About Pushpa Achanta 33 Articles
Pushpa Achanta is a writer who enjoys volunteering, photography and poetry.

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