Abhyudaya, a federation of 35 RWAs, aims to address concerns of people of the area

Bangalore was once a collection of communities living in little self-contained localities. The story of loss of such communities after an influx of migrants seeking jobs in the city is an oft-heard narrative.

Around the turn of the millennium, in south Bangalore, a group of senior citizens decided to act to rebuild residential communities. So, in 2002 was born Abhyudaya, a federation of residents' welfare associations (RWA) at Padmanabhanagar. Today, the group encompasses 35 RWAs from Hosakerahalli to ISRO layout, with highly enthusiastic retired persons as office-bearers.

“The younger ones, even the migrants who have only been around for a year or so, participate in the meetings and grievance redressal programmes,” says B.V. Ramakrishna, joint secretary of Abhyudaya. “But, since they are in such demanding jobs, they can't really do the leg work required to provide services to their localities.”

Abhyudaya conducted its first Janaspandana (grievance redressal meeting) in 2002. “We invited officials from Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to be present, and representatives of some 400 RWAs attended the programme,” Ramakrishna says.

Counting every tree

Since then, the organisation has tried to collect more information about the areas it covers.

“We have conducted a survey of all the 55 wards that fall within the area. Now, of course, they have been condensed to just four wards,” Ramakrishna says. “We have mapped and documented every road, counted the number of streetlights, poles with and without lights, and even trees in the area.”

Representative?

Anney Gowda, a resident of ISRO Layout, takes a different view of such an initiative. “I have been living in this area for twenty years now. None of the government body officials have ever heard our complaints, which are different from what the RWAs want…It has become as though officials listen only to what RWAs say, and what other ordinary citizens say doesn't matter.”

“We are not political and have never contested elections. We do have regular meetings that any resident can attend and raise their issues in. So, I don't see why there needs to be any discontent,” says Ramakrishna.

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