Hebbagodi is among the urban pockets around cities that are governed by GPs

Turning towards Hebbagodi after cruising along the Electronics City flyover in Bangalore is like stepping from one world into another. The winding, non-asphalted main road here is flanked by a series of buildings and shops.

Given that groundwater at Hebbagodi has become non-potable with industries mushrooming in the area, the most visible business here is sale of water in containers that even the poorest buy.

However, what sets apart this typical picture of a lower middle class pocket in a city is that Hebbagodi, technically, is still a “village”.

It is among the urban pockets around cities in the State that have been swallowed by growing cities, but are still governed by gram panchayats. It is classified as a census town (CT) in the Census.

“We have neither the amenities of a city nor the peace and greenery of a village,” says H.M. Muniyappa, a resident.

Proposal pending

Given that Hebbagodi’s population is touching 50,000, there is a proposal, pending before the government, to upgrade it to a town municipal council. Residents hope that upgrading the local body will bring better infrastructure and amenities.

Hebbagodi is among the 127 CTs in the State as per the 2011 Census. The number of CTs has gone up from 44 in the 2001 Census.

CTs are classified so because they have a population of over 5,000, density of over 400 people per sq km and at least 75 per cent of their male workforce is employed in non-farm sectors.

Around Hebbagodi

There are seven CTs around Hebbagodi namely Jigani, Bommasandra, Sarjapur, Attibele, Maragondahalli and Dommasandra. These “villages” abutting Bangalore once grew ragi, but that ceased in the late 70s when the city “swallowed” them and industrial clusters sprang up.

The landed at Hebbagodi have found it more profitable to build houses on what was once farmland and rent them to migrant labourers who work in the industries around.

“Buildings are the money-growing trees now,” says Krishnappa, a resident. Landless residents and migrant workers also work as domestic help and housekeeping staff in the apartments and offices nearby.

CTs in the State are concentrated around Bangalore, Mysore, Belgaum and Mangalore. There are 16 CTs around Bangalore. It should be noted that 111 villages became part of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike in 2007.

In contrast, the six districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region account for nine CTs and there are no CTs in the Malnad region.

This pattern shows that new capital investment leading to urban growth hardly flows beyond the big cities. And the agrarian crisis continues to push people towards big cities as there are no job opportunities closer home.