The Gangenahalli ward, north of Sadashivnagar and south of Hebbal, has four men contesting for the post of corporator. It comes under the general category. On March 24th, residents of Ganganagar and Ganganagar Extension and residents of Directorate of Quality Assurance staff quarters (DGQA) participated in the event organised by Janaagraha and the Residents’ Welfare Associations to know their candidates.
The candidates M Nagaraja, 49, (BJP), Muniraju, 43, (Congress), V M Raju, 52, (JDS) and Hussain Saab, 35, (Independent) had to face a volley of questions posed by the residents. Nagraja came half an hour late because he was participating in the Chief Minister’s election campaign, and Muniraju came in when most of the proceedings were over, and offered no explanation for the tardiness.
The event witnessed more than 100 residents from all the areas come together to put forth issues that needed the attention of the candidates. As Ramaswamy Naidu, an advocate and a resident of Gangenahalli ward put it, "Today is the only day we can question them, and after this we can only request them." Most of the questions were related to civic amenities and basic infrastructure needs.
A couple of candidates themselves addressed issues that were bothering the residents. Raju said that water was a problem all over the city and nobody could do anything to ensure that each household got a round-the-clock water supply. "Rainwater harvesting is the best thing that we can do to ensure a continuous water supply," he said.
Hussain Saab said that there were no government hospitals in the ward and this forced the residents to visit the KC General Hospital or Chowdaiah Hospital. His agenda was to ensure that a government hospital was constructed in the ward. Nagaraja said that bus shelters would be constructed.
What about the skywalk?
The question on everybody’s mind was that of the skywalk. Since the Bellary Road became the main access road to the Bangalore International Airport, crossing it has always been danger-prone. There are no pedestrian crossing points. Mrs. Asha Raj, a resident said that a lot of children who went to the Airforce school and the Kendriya Vidyalaya were put to difficulty. " It is extremely dangerous to send the kids alone to the school," she added. "About three years ago two children lost their lives when a lorry hit them", said Raj.
Almost all the candidates said that the matter would be dealt with immediately. Muniraju, however, different and insisted that it would take at least a couple of years to solve that problem. Nagaraja said that escalators or elevators would be attached to the skywalk to ensure the safety of the residents.
The residents were not too happy with the assurances and demanded a signal at the crossing till the underpass or skywalk was constructed.
Local representatives within wards
The residents wanted to know whether the elected corporator would support the much-debated bill on ward sabhas/committees. The residents sought to know how they would enable the bill to be passed. All the candidates gave in their consent, but Raju said that it was a cumbersome process to elect 15 booth (or local) representatives to help the corporator. Instead, the residents welfare association or the BBMP could nominate a few deserving members who could help the corporator, he suggested.
All work and no park
The residents wanted to know when a park would be created, as there was no common playground or walking place. The BBMP had proposed a site near the burial ground but the residents were not happy with the idea. All candidates agreed that it was a big issue and said that it would be looked into. Nagaraja said that there was no vacant plot, but if there were any that was not allotted to someone one, he would ensure that a park would be made in that spot. Ramaswamy Naidu pointed out that the site proposed by the BBMP was encroached by 50 slum dwellers and something had to be done about that.
Cleanliness and stray dogs
The BBMP was not collecting the garbage from the ward, resident said. This led to stray dogs displacing the garbage, thereby increasing the possibility of spreading diseases. Also there were several cases of dog bites in the area. The candidates vouched their support to address the issues and said that they would give it priority if they got elected.
The residents wanted to know if there was a beggar’s rehabilitation centre, then why not a stray dog rehabilitation centre? The candidates said that the plan could be proposed but the bigger issue was that the dogs were being released in the same area after being vaccinated. Nagaraja said that he would ensure that the dogs were sterilized.
One issue that sparked a controversy was an allegation against a school taking donations. The candidates said that this issue came up because people wanted their children to study in English medium schools. " People want their kids to say mummy daddy instead of amma and appa," said Raju. The people weren’t too happy with the indifferent replies of the candidates and asked them to solve the problem.
Saab said that he understood that most of the income of the people was spent in giving donations to the schools and said that he would try his level best to solve the problem.
The residents were not completely satisfied with the event, as all their problems could not be addressed in the discussion, due to the lack of time. The president of the Residents Welfare Association Sarvanna promised that the problems would be brought to the notice of the candidates, if the residents gave him the list of their problems. ⊕