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Citizens of the Thubarahalli area near Varthur in Bengaluru, frustrated by the slippery mud road and traffic jams, will hold a peaceful protest on October 26, 2013, to draw attention to the terrible state of affairs.
Cars, trucks, buses, two-wheelers and cyclists get stuck in a chaotic frenzy here during their daily commute. Two international schools are located on this road. There are around 12 big apartments in this area, and a 13th one is getting ready. Over 150 school buses and over 8000 residents living around the area have to pass through this rollercoaster ride every morning and evening.
Absence of street lights adds to the misery of the residents. Javed Ahmad, a resident of Thubarahalli, says that the roads are so bad that women or children do not step out of their houses during nights. One shower and the entire stretch turns marshy and slippery, making it difficult to drive vehicles, let alone walk. ”Many accidents have taken place here, yesterday even I slipped on the road,” he explains.
Raghu Kumar, a resident of Hinduja Park has a tragic story to share, “Two months ago, my friend’s mother suffered serious heart attack in the day time. It was very difficult for the ambulance to cross this bad stretch. Unfortunately, she could not survive.”
RTI reveals no road sanctioned by BBMP
Kumar has been residing here for the past seven years, while Javed moved in three years ago. When the residents wanted to get clarity on who was responsible for the road, they filed an RTI query. The RTI response revealed that there are no public roads marked on the survey number 65/1, 65/2 and 65/3.
As per the documents available with BDA/land records, there is only a footpath in survey numbers 65/1, 65/2, 65/3. The survey numbers 69 and 66/4 do not have any road or foot paths.
There is no document to show who built the existing approach road. It is neither a BBMP road, nor was it built by the state government. “It seems that the existing muddy road has been done by the owners of different survey numbers for their benefit,” says Javed Ahmad.
However, at the time of purchase, the respective builders showed the residents documents that said the roads will be built in next six months. But there have been no steps to construct a road. Residents are in a dilemma without being able to judge who is wrong – the BBMP, or the builders.
They question that if the BBMP has sanctioned the project, before that BBMP should have approved the road, which they haven’t. Residents are the sufferers in the end, and they need better roads, street lights and healthy conditions.
“Many memorandums were written and sent to the MLA and the corporator but no action was taken. They kept giving false assurances,” says Raghu Kumar.
Residents unite as a federation
The residents of the area grouped and formed Federation of Thubarahalli Apartment Owners Associations (FTAOA). Hinduja Park, Samhita rainbow, Rajani Ashish, Balaji Gardens, Sriram Samruddhi, Vishnu Residency, Vishnu Enclave, Gayatri Oceans, Sumadhura Sandovan, Keerthi Gardenia, also Vibgyor School, Narayana Techno School and neighbouring apartments are members of the association.
The members tried to repair the road, and faced objection by some with vested interests. The association sent letters to all authorities, Corporator, MLA, MP, Chief Minister, BBMP commissioner, BBMP joint commissioner, Traffic Police and Varthur Police Station, but in vain.
Last year, in one of the meetings with the Association, the corporator of the area N R Sridhar Reddy walked in with a work order. “He showed us the work order of Rs.1.5 crore but later no work was done. When we approached him again to get to know the status of the roads, he claimed that the new government froze the work order. Every time we ask him, either on Facebook or in person, he says, “I am trying my best.” but we don’t believe him,” says Javed Ahmad.
Sridhar Reddy, in a radio interview, claimed that the buildings came up just 1 ½ years ago, and it was too early for the residents to demand a road. He promised to build a road by the end of December. However, residents dispute this claim, saying the school and apartments have been there for a long time now, for more than three years.
Memorandum to be submitted to authorities
The Federation is planning a peaceful awareness campaign (Sathyagraha) on October 26, from 10 am to 12 pm, starting from Kundanahalli Gate. FTAOA is also conducting a Blood donation camp and sapling plantation program On Oct 26.
The Federation plans to present a memorandum to corporator, MLA and the authorities during the Satyagraha. In the memorandum, FTAOA has requested the authorities to construct a proper road. Dust pollution here is affecting residents. Besides, the bad road creates huge traffic jams near the Kundanahalli Junction, says the memorandum, highlighting the plight of the road during monsoons. FTAOA has also requested for street lights on the stretch.