‘Bendakaaluru’ is a land of dreams for every individual with every opportunity and facilities available at the doorstep. It was a dream child which depicted the vision for the city by one of the great architect of all times Kempegowda. Bengaluru as it is called today, came to be recognised with various titles ranging from the Garden City to Silicon City to Garbage City. Every title adorned by this city clearly shows both the level of development and degradation in terms of infrastructure, technology, ecological degradation, land use pattern, etc.
Bengaluru attracts thousands of people with dreams of better life style. But, the city should adopt a sustainable development model. Otherwise, the city is bound to crash sooner or later from the problems that emanate from unscientific planning and expansion.
Bengaluru is facing one such crisis where the development mechanism is failing the planners and the situation is worsening.
It’s time the citizens and the citizens’ representatives took action to stop such a downfall. The city has witnessed incessant tree-cutting, degradation of the lakes, polluting the environment, congestion caused due to overpopulation, greenhouse gases emission, etc. These have far-reaching impacts that are almost impossible to reverse. To save our city from further degradation and to maintain the status quo of the depleted resources we need the best system and authority in place.
Bengaluru is managed by a Corporation, a statutory body consisting of Councillors and corporators elected by the people. Each corporator heads a ward, and will be solely responsible for all the activities of that ward. The Corporation is the apex body which formulates schemes, developmental programs and other necessary activities relating to the proper management and functioning of the city. The Corporation is headed by a Mayor, elected by the Councillors.
The Mayor is the guiding light for the entire team of Councillors, citizens and the city as well. He exercises his power to preside over the meetings of various standing committees, recommending the commissioners to implement the resolutions passed by the corporation etc. The Mayor should make the best use of his powers in his tenure of a year to bring in remarkable changes that matter to the city.
Beautiful lakes, lush greenery, chirping of birds, fresh air and pleasant weather were some attributes of the Garden City Bangalore. Today worldwide it is being recognised by is clogging drains, inefficient garbage management, dried lakes, huge concrete constructions, scorching sun and is also considered being the most recent victim of climate change. These changes are a result of a decade-long irresponsible actions of its citizens, failure in the implementing and controlling authority and the rapid incoming population.
Population influx into the city due to migration is turning out to be a menace. This is creating an increasing pressure on the otherwise available limited land. Connected to this are the resultant products of better and luxurious life styles, waste production, traffic, etc.
The promise of labour-intensive jobs and better life lures the landless labourers from villages. They could end up in slums without access to basic amenities.
Creation of employment and infrastructure for all these people with limited resources is a challenging task for the civic authorities. The labour influx must be controlled to a large extent to reduce the adverse impact caused. Today there are many solutions attempted and many of them have borne fruits.
As the first citizen of the city, Mayor can take the following approaches for maximum impact:
- One of the solutions is to relocate the IT establishments because of whom such an influx of population is flowing into the city. This can be encouraged by developing the tier two cities which possess the potential of infrastructural development and provides greater reach to a better standard of life.
- To imbibe the importance and impact of such inflow of population to the establishments and encourage them to create a spacious and peaceful self-sustained gated communities with all the amenities and luxuries one would expect from. This will prove beneficial for many other related issues like reduction of environmental pollution and traffic congestion, better management of travel time and a stress-free life.
Garbage and waste disposal are other challenging tasks for the planners of the city. The untreated waste waters that are led directly to the natural or man-made water bodies are inviting significant problems.
Toxicity in such untreated waters will start polluting the groundwater table as well. To address these issues, the following should be adopted by the Mayor:
- The Councillor should take stringent steps to make the households segregate the wastes. This should be diligently followed and mandatory in all localities. Segregation of waste is the first step towards all other solutions.
- A group of 50 houses from every locality should be grouped and they must be shouldered with the responsibility of segregation. They must be educated various means of using the wet waste and within a span of 6 months this group of 50 households must produce only dry waste. Such segregated wet waste must be used for composting of the manure. This, in turn, should be used to grow their own vegetables and fruits thus becoming self-reliant in their grocery needs. Through an implementation of this idea in a target area and population, positive results can be obtained. Then more households can be included.
- Today at the global level there are campaigns aiming to reduce waste produced by each individual by tracking day-to-day activities and self-consciously reduce and reuse the waste. In Bangalore majority of the population is young, and they can be easily driven towards such an initiative. If we are successfully able to bring them to understand the problem, a major portion of the waste issue can be solved.
- A viable solution also exists to the problem of letting untreated waters to the water bodies. Every household should become a model in reusing the wastewater produced. For the households which cannot afford such solutions, private players can pitch in to support them. The failure to sustain such treatment plants have in return failed the whole purpose of such plants. This should be addressed immediately and settle all the problems with regards to such plants. The Mayor should take effective steps for the revival of the plants.
Every problem has a solution – every changemaker in the city should believe in this. All those solutions attempted at must be revived overcoming the drawbacks faced and every person as a responsible citizen should make sure they do their part of work for reducing the burden on civic authorities. Mayor who is heading this city should implement and encourage for the best revival measures and strive hard to make this city once again the Land of Lush Greenery.
Archana Murthy is a law graduate from Lakshmi Narayana Puram, Bengaluru. This is one of the shortlisted entries in ‘If I were the Bengaluru Mayor’ contest launched by Citizen Matters in September 2017.