Special Correspondent

Area boasts of two parks and children's playground

Association has introduced night beat security Every household contributes Rs. 125 a month for security Women's wing plans social activities and children's programme

Bangalore: Two well-maintained parks and children's playground should be enough for any residential area to be proud of. For those in Sanjayanagar, they are just some of their achievements over the years.

The Residents' Welfare Association, soon to complete 10 years, now gets visits from associations of other neighbourhoods to learn their best practices.

Association president V. Sathyamurthy says: "Before the association was formed in 1996, Sanjaynagar was like any new suburb. It had no proper roads, no lights, no regular cleaning of streets or garbage removal and water and electricity supplies were erratic. The land under high tension wires was filled shrubs and debris and a haven for anti-social elements and snakes."

The residents soon realised they may have to start helping themselves in addition to seeking the help of the civic authorities and the utilities.

"Of course money was contributed by the residents for common amenities. For example, we spend Rs. 80,000 a year on maintaining the parks, including wages and living quarters for full time gardeners."

But what really worked was their collective approach to the BMP officials and those in charge of electricity and water supply for the area.

Wherever possible they went straight to the top as with the BMP Commissioners over the years. "All of them were helpful and we have to thank the BMP engineers and those of the BWSSB, BESCOM, BSNL and the police as well," Mr. Satyamurthy says.

Security and crime prevention are the main concerns in any suburb and the association has addressed it by employing security personnel in the area between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Each household contributes Rs. 125 a month for this. At the communication level too, the Sanjaynagar residents have gone one step ahead with both a newsletter and a members' directory with all details including contact numbers and addresses. The association has a committee of 14, all accountable to the general body representing all residents. There is a strong women's wing that takes care of social activities and plans events for children, all in a self-contained community where democracy prevails.