Development, but at what cost?

Updated - April 29, 2013 08:39 am IST

Published - April 29, 2013 08:33 am IST - BANGALORE:

A surface-level view of the C.V. Raman Nagar Assembly constituency may present a glowing picture of development — frequently asphalted roads, emergence of swanky glass and chrome buildings and the Namma Metro train services. But, if the surface is scratched, one sees residents pour their hearts out over indiscriminate chopping of trees, irregular water supply and uncleared mounds of garbage, to name a few.

From what used to be considered the outskirts of the city, the constituency has slowly integrated itself into Bangalore, thanks to the extension of the State capital well up to Whitefield.

Real estate has boomed, so has the population due to the presence of Bagmane Tech Park, public sector undertakings (PSUs) such as Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and defence establishments such as Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Since it was carved out from Varthur constituency in 2008, the once deserted areas are now choc-a-bloc with residential buildings and layouts. Traffic has multiplied manifold. Development in these areas identifies with the frequently asphalted roads and of course, the Namma Metro which made its debut in this part of Bangalore.

However, old-timers are watching in horror as the environment has taken a beating. First, fully mature trees on CMH Road and Indiranagar made way for the ambitious Metro project. Now, trees are being hacked off to widen Suranjandas Road — the link between Old Airport Road and Old Madras Road.

Another grouse of the residents is the lack of redressal of the real issues. For instance, while residents in the plush Defence Colony on Thippasandra Road will shrug off the elections and say they have nothing to complain about, those living in less privileged areas will question the priority of amenities provided.

Like Rajan, who lives in Anandapuram near Jeevan Bima Nagar, who says the water they get once in four days often brings misery as it is sometimes mixed with sewage. “Yes, the roads extending into the narrow lanes that lead to our homes have been asphalted. But what about water? Shouldn’t that be looked into first?” he asked.

Thangavelu, a cobbler in G.M. Palya, points out to the uncleared garbage mound on the one side and the overflowing drain on the other, nestled between which he makes a living. “The stench is unbearable,” he said.

Populist steps?

MLA S. Raghu, who is seeking re-election from this constituency reserved for candidates from the Scheduled Castes (he was MLA from Shantinagar before delimitation in 2008), partially admitted that there was a need to look into the core issues. “I agree that quite a few trees were lost in all the projects. Also, garbage disposal and traffic need disciplining. If re-elected, my immediate plans are to revive the Kaggadasapura Lake, create tree parks wherever possible, and build a world-class diabetes hospital here,” he said.

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