Like other areas in the city, residents of the seven wards under Malleswaram Assembly constituency too have to put up with problems such as glacially paced infrastructure works, poor roads, congested footpaths, garbage and increasing commercialisation.
Malleswaram is one of the earliest residential areas developed and is said to have been developed in 1898 by H.V. Nanjundaiah, who was the Dewan of Mysore.
The area, which reportedly derives its name from the Kadu Malleswara temple here, is one of the most sought-after addresses. The area is home to people belonging to lower socioeconomic groups, middle class and upper middle class.
Residents, not entirely comfortable with the commercialisation of their once tranquil locality, complain that it has brought with it associated problems such as increasing traffic and pollution. The inordinate delay in infrastructure projects is only compounding the traffic problems.
Vani Murthy from the Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative said several old-timers are troubled with the increasing commercialisation. “There are malls coming up and taking away business from the small traders of the area. This has upset the entire economy of the area. With the boom in real estate and increasing commercialisation, the very fabric of area that was once pensioners’ paradise is changing.”
Ms. Murthy is also disappointed with the failure to make Malleswaram a model area in solid waste management. “When the garbage crisis erupted, there was enthusiasm initially to solve the problem. The citizens were also ready to pitch in; but nothing concrete was achieved.”
The end result is that garbage continues to be dumped at the black spots.
Not surprisingly, last week’s bomb blast in Malleswaram has been a bit unsettling for some residents. For Srinivas R.M., long-time resident and businessman, lack of security is a major concern.
“The bomb blast showed that Malleswaram has become a soft target.”
While the middle and upper middle class residents are worried about security, aspect, more immediate worries plague those belonging to lower socioeconomic groups here. Drinking water and lack of immediate access to public toilets are bugbears for them.
Kullamma, a resident of Ambedkar Colony in Vyalikaval, said women from her locality have to walk nearly half a km with buckets of water to relieve themselves. Her son Manikantan, a taxi driver, said while areas where people belonging to middle and upper middle class reside get all the attention, those populated by the poor are often ignored.
The candidates in the fray will have to attend to all these issues to come to power. Standing in the way of incumbent MLA C.N. Ashwath Narayan’s hopes of a second term are political greenhorns B.K. Shivaram (Congress) and Meenakshi Bharat (Lok Satta) and former Minister B.T. Lalitha Naik (Independent).