On Saturday, October 27th, the city will be witness to yet another human chain, organised this time by the disgruntled citizens of Bellandur, one of the largest wards of Bengaluru with a tax collection of Rs 220 crore. The residents of the ward seek to highlight their issues and put forth their demands to make Bellandur livable.
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Residents point to the serious discrepancy of funds and infrastructure for the ward by all standards. As per the BBMP Budgetary expenditure (Source: Janaagraha), Bellandur (27 sq km) has got an allocation of Rs 6-7 crore in the annual budget. Considering the parameters of density of population, residences and ward area, much smaller wards like BTM layout (2 sq km), Koramangala (4 sq km) have got Rs 12cr and Rs 7cr respectively per annum.
Major issues of concern
Traffic: Iblur, Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur Road are among the the top 5 worst commute roads in
Bengaluru. Today over 300000+ PCUs (passenger car units) are the peak commuters in this zone, making this one of the most choked zone in Bangalore but with no real intent or urgency to decongest. Just this year, there have been about 5 known deaths in and around Sarjapur road.
Water and underground drainage (UGD): This is non existent for a majority of residents in this IT Corridor. The work in progress on this front as part of 110 Villages, is not at the pace and quality that can help residents. There is no coordinated plan to speed up. Roads are dug up for months with no motorable restoration. This needs broader coordination and weekly monitoring across BWSSB and BBMP, on quality and progress which is missing. UGD design work for Bellandur has also not progressed at sufficient pace.
The lack of infrastructure, coupled with dug-up roads has led to serious mobility and health issues, putting many lives in danger. One of the highest number of H1N1 cases is from Bellandur, Mahadevapura.
Lake pollution: Lakes, not just restricted to Bellandur lake, continue to be ignored. No proper funds for maintenance of existing lakes, incomplete SWD and road side drain infrastructure has caused irreparable damage to the environment.
Garbage Menace: Despite having great blueprints of decentralised solid waste management to collect and manage waste at the ward level, despite citizens putting their heart and soul to solve garbage woes, and many MNCs and ITs ready to provide CSR, Bellandur continues to see garbage dumps on main roads, open drains full of waste and frothing, burning and filthy lakes.
The waste management price tag for the ward is Rs 50 lakh per month. Yet, some areas are not even aware of door to door collection, while some areas hardly see a collection truck once or twice a week.
Citizens play an important role, responsibly segregating waste as per 2bin1bag guidelines, some even compost at home. But in the absence of infrastructure to collect and process waste, it has proven impossible to keep the neighbourhood clean.
Overall administrative gaps
Residents of the ward emphasise the fact that various RWAs and federations have been actively pushing for overall improvements in infrastructure and governance of the ward. It is not only because of monetary constraints, but also due to the grave shortage of staff, lack of intent and non functional ward committees that efficient administration is missing.
In July 2018, over 60 RWAs and associations had joined hands to came up with an ward-level plan, titled the “Bellandur Development Resolution 2018”. The same was submitted to the area representatives, BBMP and GoK for implementation, but nothing much has happened around the same.
This lack of intent, plan and administration has forced federation of RWAs including Kasavanahalli Development forum(KDF), Bellandur Forum, Bangalore Apartment Federation(BAF), Carmelaram Unites, SPARSH, Doddakanneli Rising and Haralur Forum to come together and conduct a series of sessions that will culminate in the protest scheduled.
The key demands are to:
- Decongest Bellandur and its surroundings
- Resolve water issues and speed-up underground drainage construction
- Implement a garbage microplan as detailed above
- Undertake holistic lake rejuvenation as per the Monitoring Committee Report of 2016
- Restructure governance and administration of Bellandur ward through devolution of power and funds.
This write-up has been prepared on the basis of a press note issued by organisers of the #SaveBellandur movement.