As one of the most well planned residential areas of Bengaluru, Jayanagar has been touted as a haven for the business class and the retired crowd. Home to prominent names like Infosys co-founder, N R Narayana Murthy, actor Vishnuvardhan and writer Shashi Deshpande, this hub in the southern part of the city has wide roads, tree lined avenues and excellent public transport. But problems like garbage, parking and sewerage have not only got residents fighting for a better Jayanagar, it has also united the various residents’ associations.
Twelve Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) came together in July 2004 under an apex body, Federation of Jayanagar Residents Association. Says K V Bhaskar Murthy, President of this federation, “We are looking at the overall development of Jayanagar that has grown so much. Basic infrastructure is a problem here. For instance, the sewerage line that was designed for a limited number of people needs to be worked on.”
The Federation has developed a number of parks and installed street lamps. The roads have been numbered by them too. Members are now working to upgrade Jayanagar General Hospital to a super speciality hospital and there are plans to renovate Jayanagar Shopping Complex and include multi-level parking there.
Individual associations have also been working separately. One such is the First Block Organisation of Residents for Clean Environment, also known as FORCE. Started in March 1998, FORCE was set up to facilitate social interaction and secure amenities. Says BLG Rao, co-ordinator, FORCE, “The very first thing we did was garbage collection and waste disposal.” With the help of a software company, FORCE successfully initiated door-to-door waste collection and disposal scheme, even selling the compost from their recycling unit. On 31st January this year, FORCE held a meet for pourakarmikas of the area. Nagaraj, Health Officer, South Zone, presided over the function which was attended by over 20 pourakarmikas, as well as residents and FORCE members.
Today, FORCE has 15 members, comprising mostly of senior citizens. “We started off with about 60 members. Now it is just a few of us who are concerned about development,” says C K Shantha, a member. With its main focus on the environment, FORCE has been working closely with BBMP officials. The corporation park-cum-playground, located off Mariappa Road, was given a facelift by FORCE with financial assistance from a corporate. The park, which now has playing equipment, landscaping and proper fencing, was recently handed back to the BBMP.
A landmark in Jayanagar is the Ashoka Pillar, the ‘entrance’ to the area. But with this heritage landmark being adorned with garbage, hoardings and posters in recent times, FORCE has been working on preserving the structure. According to Rao, the Ashoka Pillar square has been neglected by civic authorities.
The problem of hoardings is also being addressed by FORCE. They have approached the advertising section of the BBMP ward office asking them to look into this matter. But the response, Rao says, has been lackadaisical.
Another RWA, Jayanagar 5th Block Association, is working towards improving facilities in their block. The problems being tackled are manifold, such as the main playground being given out for commercial activities, auto meter checking at the RTO causes a lot of noise disturbing residents, the need for installation of a 66 kva transformer in Jayanagar 3rd block because of frequent power cuts (currently they get power supply from a transformer in Subramanyapura) and the lack of an auditorium in Jayanagar. N Mukund, of the executive committee of this RWA says, “We conduct interactive programmes with MLAs, hold heart camps and have regular health check ups.”
Being a business hub, parking and traffic are the biggest problems in Jayanagar. Vehicles parked in ‘No Parking’ areas are a common sight, especially near the shopping complex. The popularity of the 4th block market is a growing concern of residents and the Federation has written to the police commissioner about this. Murthy says they have also complained about hawkers and eating joints that have come up on the pavement, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. “We have suggested a separate hawkers’ zone,” says Murthy.
B L G Rao
# 17/A, 3rd Cross, 1st Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore – 560 011
Jayanagar 5th Block Residents Welfare Association
119, 7th Main, 5th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore – 560 041
K V Bhaskar Murthy
President, Federation of Jayanagar Residents Association,
245, 6th Main Road, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore – 560 011
With the recent murders in the area, safety is a major concern. The Federation has written to the commissioner with suggestions, some of which include: increasing the frequency of day and night patrolling, organising crime/ traffic awareness programmes and Hoysala movement near parks in the evenings. FORCE has requested police outposts as the nearest police station is at NIMHANS. The Federation recently held an interactive session with the Commissioner of Police, Shankar Bidari, who promised to increase the number of sub-inspectors and inspectors in each police station.
The Federation takes up issues that cannot be resolved by the respective associations, and works closely with MLAs like B N Vijay Kumar, R Ashoka (Transport Minister) and Dr Hemchand Sagar. “We go to the MLAs with not just grievances but possible solutions. That is what is important,” states Murthy.
What is not stated but is obvious is how working as a collective can yield results; something that other city groups could learn from the Jayanagar Federation.