Shouting, sloganeering mar Janaspandana programme

Irregular water supply, lack of water supply, traffic congestion, unauthorised speed-breakers, uneven footpaths, lack of parking spaces and road widening… all these issues agitate Bangaloreans and, sure enough, they raised the temperature at the Janaspandana programme organised by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) here on Tuesday.

The Janaspandana (also known as Sammukha) was held for citizens of the Malleswaram Assembly Constituency, and the citizens minced no words while demanding solutions to their civic problems.

Jumping the queue

The programme, which lasted a little over three hours, witnessed some acrimonious scenes with each citizen vying with the other to speak first.

This led to a visibly irritated Malleswaram MLA C.N. Ashwath Narayan reprimanding a few, asking them to maintain order.

The programme, supposed to start at 10 a.m., began more than an hour late and saw nearly 500 citizens turning up at the venue.

As it progressed, a group of citizens wearing Gandhi caps and holding the National Flag barged in, raising slogans such as “Bolo Bharath Mata ki Jai”, and marched up to the stage to submit a memorandum to Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy.

Police intervention

Dr. Ashwath Narayan curtly told them to “stop the drama” and allow the programme to continue. When the sloganeering group refused to back off, the police personnel escorted them to the end of hall.

Towards the end of the programme, one from the group was allowed to submit the memorandum but was denied the chance to speak. He was escorted out of the hall by the police.

The programme was disrupted once again when power-loom weavers from Gayathri Nagar alleged that with the BBMP issuing closure notices to them, they were faced with an uncertain future. “We have been conducting our business for several years now. We have no objection certificate from our neighbours as well. With the closure notice, our livelihood is at stake,” said Shankar, a weaver.

Their spokesperson demanded an immediate response from Mayor Murthy and the officials. Though the officials assured him of a response later, he did not heed them. An irate Dr. Ashwath Narayan asked the weavers to “stop shouting”. “You will not get any solution if you raise your voice,” he said.

Case in High Court

Later, Additional Commissioner (West zone) Shankar Patil said that the power-looms case was being heard in the High Court of Karnataka. “We have only acted as per the High Court directions,” he said. Mr. Venkatesh Murthy assured the weavers of discussing the issue in the next BBMP Council meeting to find a solution to their problem.

He told the gathering that he would ensure that the BBMP Council discusses fixing a rate for the private water suppliers as it was not uniform. The BBMP would make trade licence mandatory for these suppliers.

These Janaspandana programmes would be organised at the ward-level every fortnight to address citizens’ grievances effectively, the Mayor said.

BBMP Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda, Deputy Mayor L. Srinivas and councillors of seven wards under Malleswaram Assembly constituency were present.

Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju skipped the programme. Sources said that he is said to be upset with Mr. Venkatesh Murthy as he was neither kept in the loop nor invited by the Mayor.

Senior officials from various government departments and civic utilities were present.

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