Dinesh Gundu Rao, three-time MLA of Gandhi Nagar constituency in the heart of the city, is considered one among the youth leaders of Congress party. Son of ex-chief minister of the state Gundu Rao, he is an engineering graduate. He is contesting from Gandhinagar constituency for the fourth time. In a telephonic interview to Citizen Matters, he shared his views on the development of his constituency.
What were the topics of your focus in your constituency?
The prime focus was development of each ward; ensuring proper facilities- roads, drains, water, garbage, footpaths, safety, education, cleanliness, hygiene and proper housing. In my constituency, I have achieved all these and work is still on. It is a continuous process. There is always scope for improvement.
What changes have you made in your constituency in the last five years?
Some slums had to be shifted because of Metro construction and railway tracks. The areas were cleared by convincing residents of Basaveshwaranagar, Jayabheemanagar near Metro construction site, Arasanagar behind Binney Mills and Lakshmanapura near Khoday factory in Gandhinagar. People were not only shifted but were also given houses on Hosur Road and Tumkur road. The whole project cost around Rs 600 crore and was funded by the slum board and Metro. The task was achieved smoothly in coordination with people.
How much money have you spent for the constituency’s development ? How much was collected from people in various forms? Have the funds been sufficient?
We have spent around Rs 200 crore which was allocated by the BBMP and state government. No money was collected from the people. All the money has been spent for developmental works alone.
Funds given were sufficient; there was no dearth. With regard to ongoing works, the BBMP has no funds since last two years. There are problems in their own funding and resources.
Over the years, it has been observed that you have only been inaugurating projects. Has there been any project which was initiated by you and you take credit for?
Yes, I have been present at various functions. But I take credit for a unique school project which was started by me, even though it is in my neighbouring ward- Srirampura, Rajajinagar constituency. Around six years ago, in coordination with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, a CBSE school was started in the old corporation building. We not only improved the building but also reconstructed it at a cost of Rs 5 crore. The school was officially inaugurated three years ago. Fifty per cent of the children here are admitted by the BBMP, rest 50 per cent by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. This is a unique concept.
According to you, which is the most problematic ward? and why?
The problematic wards, in my opinion, would be Chickpet and Cottonpet as the roads are difficult to walk on and drainage pipes are too narrow. It is difficult to construct anything new as the area is old and well-established with dense population. Thus the problem which we are facing is of laying new drainage and water pipelines.
In case of Akkipet, Sultanpet and Cottonpet, it has been done at a cost of around Rs 12 crore from JNNURM funds. We have cleared the storm water drains and encroachments.
We have observed that the drainage situation is the same since the last 10 years. There has been no change or improvement, why?
Cleanliness and maintaining it is a constant process. Since now there has been upspring of multilevel constructions in these areas, cleanliness should also be maintained continuously. Though new pipelines are built, ultimately how to maintain them is important.
Is there any project or task which you have not been able to do or you regret about?
I have been unable to start the project of constructing a main drain in the middle of BVK Iyengar road which is well-connected with all sides and areas in the vicinity. The project should have started a year ago. I aim to start its work in another two weeks. The delay has been in the contract process, though grants were sanctioned from JNNURM.
Here’s the interview of Dinesh Gundu Rao done during the first year of this term.
In case of the heavily populated areas of old Bangalore and your new wards like Avenue road, Chickpet and Cottonpet, there was a lot of tussle regarding Metro construction. How did you cope with it?
Slum-dwellers and those residing in other establishments were convinced. There was no problem even in case of Magadi Road, as the compensation was good. The only problem was with those in Cottonpet and Chickpet, pertaining to underground water. As many depend upon borewell, when underground work started, their borewells ran dry.
Which is the topic you have raised in the assembly pertaining to your constituency? Have they been met, if not why?
One topic on my constituency I raised is improving the entrance to railway station from Rajajinagar. It has been a long-pending issue. We have had meetings with the railways. The project was even sanctioned two months ago. Rs 200 crore was allocated for road widening and bridge construction. We aim to construct it on the lines of Hebbal Flyover, which is well-connected from three sides. But the work is yet to start.
What is your view on ward committees and direct governance for Bangalore?
Work on ward committees is on. Presently there is a combination of political and non-political people. There should be more and better involvement from the non-political people like NGOs, citizen welfare groups, resident welfare associations and residents who have sound knowledge of the subject. It is a challenge to get people together and involve them. In some places like Gandhinagar and Kumarapark we have managed to do this. For direct and better governance, the ward committees should be strong and have adequate power and knowledge.
According to you which is the best ward in your constituency and why?
I think it would be Dattatreya temple ward No 77, because of the development it has seen in the last few years and the direct involvement of the people. For instance, the residential property in Munishwara block in Vivekananda colony which was under litigation for 30 years was fought in the court. The case was passed in favour of the people and land acquisition was cleared with a compensation of Rs 50 lakh. The government, four months ago, ordered that the land be sold to the residing 450 plus people in the area at 5% of the sub-registrar value.⊕
Are there no citizen welfare groups, resident welfare associations and residents who have sound knowledge of the subject in Chickpet, to outcast there wows and for direct and better governance ?