Basic infrastructure like roads, water supply, street lights and drainage are a luxury

The 900-odd residents of Ballurgudde, off national higway at Kannur, hardly feel like being part of urban Mangalore though it was brought under the city corporation’s jurisdiction 10 years ago.

Basic infrastructure like roads remain just another demand. Each time a resident has to come to Kannur, she has to trek down the hill that has a narrow pathway, painstakingly maintained by the residents and cross the railway track. Their demands for a proper road, water supply, street lights and drainage still remain unanswered.

The residents here have to carry the sick on chair through the narrow and uneven pathway along the slope that has huge cracks at several points to reach the road and an ambulance. “It becomes very risky when it rains as the track becomes slippery,” said Mohammed R., who runs a small grocery shop. “We have to spend a lot more for grocery for bringing the same to our houses,” said Parimala Rajesh, who has been living in the area for more than a decade.

The only source of drinking water is located down the hill from where they have to carry it. For household chores, they rely on water supplied for one hour a day from an overhead tank. In the absence of rainwater drains, they have tough time during the monsoon. “Water just flows into our house when it rains. We have no other go but to bear with it,” Lateefa, homemaker, said.

“Councillors and MLA come here at the time of elections and pay lip service. There is no concern for the problems we face,” said Lateefa’s neighbour Naseema. Residents said they have not seen a single Mangalore City Corporation personnel taking up cleanliness drive in the area that is afflicted with malaria.

Schoolchildren have an additional work. ISKCON, which supplies midday meals, delivers the food up to the last motorable point near Ballurgudde. For there, the students have to carry the huge cans filled with rice and sambar down 300 metres to their school. A class 6 student said he is used to carrying the cans. “This is nothing new. On a daily basis we carry groceries and other articles to the house like this,” he said.

The problems of Ballurgudde is common to neighbouring Dayambu, Borugudde and Badila, which are all part of the Kannur ward. Residents of these places joined the Social Democratic Party of India activists to carry out a demonstration near the Kannur Masjid demanding better facilities in their areas on Friday. The activists said a letter has been written to Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde highlighting problems of these areas.

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