Bengaluru

Why call it rush hour when nothing moves, ask Bengaluru residents

For three hours between 9 a.m. and noon, nearly 2,000 people gathered on Outer Ring Road to protest the crumbling infrastructure in Mahadevapura and government apathy.   | Photo Credit: Pranav Kumar M S

Armed with placards and a sense of determination to get civic agencies to listen to them, as many as 2,000 people from Mahadevapura, Bellandur, Varthur, Hoodi, Kadugodi, Whitefield and surrounding areas gathered along stretches of Outer Ring Road (ORR) during peak commuting hours on Friday morning.

Schoolchildren, senior citizens, teenagers, and even people working in the IT hubs in the area joined hands to demand better transport facilities, traffic management, water supply, garbage management and roads.

Starting 9 a.m., people gathered at five locations — Marathahalli Bridge, Kundalahalli Gate, Prestige Tech Park, eZone, and Bagmane World.

Why call it rush hour when nothing moves, ask Bengaluru residents
 

Five years after the ‘Save Whitefield’ protest, neighbourhoods in and around the city’s ORR, especially Mahadevapura, Varthur, Whitefield, Hoodi, Doddanekundi, Kadugodi, Marathahalli, Hagadur and Channasandra united under the banner of ‘MahadevapuraDemands’ and put out a list of demands to elected representatives and agencies like the BBMP and BWSSB. The need to hold regular ward committee meetings, better roads and connectivity, fixing the traffic mess, and civic amenities were among their key demands.

The protest, ‘MahadevapuraDemands’, was organised by various citizens’ groups and Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) in and around the busy Mahadevapura area at five locations on ORR. People expressed their anger, frustration and helplessness in the face of “apathy from elected representatives and agencies like the BBMP and BWSSB”.

“Certain rights are not just given, they are guaranteed. However, the condition of roads, pavements, and every other facility in my neighbourhood is pathetic. It is not only a question of development, it is also about quality of life,” said Sana Ali, a protester and a resident of Marathahalli.

Students from four schools — Deens Academy, Delhi Public School-East, Greenwood High and Inventure Academy — participated in the protest.

Students from four schools — Deens Academy, Delhi Public School-East, Greenwood High and Inventure Academy — participated in the protest.   | Photo Credit: JAYASIMHA K R

 

Hundreds of students from four schools — Deens Academy, Delhi Public School-East, Greenwood High and Inventure Academy — participated in the protest. “We suffer the trauma of traffic snarls every single day. Half our energy is gone in travelling alone. I am extremely happy that my school took us to the protest. It’s a learning experience as well,” said a student form Delhi Public School-East.

Some were clad in black, others shouted slogans and held witty placards that called civic agencies and elected representatives to task.

Kartikey Pandey, a student of Greenwood High, said such protests should happen across the city as the entire Bengaluru is crumbling. “This protest was inevitable. We study civics and political science in school. What we study seems ideal, but the reality is a different story. The future belongs more to us than anyone else, and its our right to have a better and brighter future,” he said.

Demand of school children

Speaking about the horrible traffic snarls on ORR, Aryamic Brahmankar, a student of Delhi Public School-East, said that most of his energy is lost in travelling every day. “We spend so much time stuck in traffic. It’s not only about the commute, but also about noise and sound pollution that can affect our health,” he said.

Kamesh Rastogi, president of Bangalore Apartment Federation, HSR Layout cluster, complained about the lack of coordination among civic bodies. “Work gets done one day on a particular road only to be undone within a few weeks. Traffic on these roads swells as a result. Those who dig up roads to lay new water pipes or gas pipes need to coordinate with those who tar the roads,” he said.

Students complain that their daily commute is characterised by slow-moving traffic, and heavy sound and air pollution.

Students complain that their daily commute is characterised by slow-moving traffic, and heavy sound and air pollution.   | Photo Credit: JAYASIMHA K R

 

The protest culminated at the respective locations with people getting back to work or their homes with the hope that their elected representatives and the officials concerned will act decisively.

Taking a break from work

Office-goers in the IT hub took time off from their regular business and stood on either side of the road on Friday. Many shouted slogans demanding the resignation of the elected representatives for repeatedly failing to deliver. “Perform or perish” they shouted.

Some protesters walked to the office of Mahadevapura MLA Aravind Limbavali. He was not in his office, and they were asked to submit their demands. The citizens refused saying they wanted to meet the MLA.

People from neighbourhoods in and around the ORR, especially Mahadevapura, Varthur, Whitefield, Hoodi, Doddanekundi, Kadugodi, Marathahalli, Hagadur and Channasandra, came out on the streets to voice their displeasure with elected representatives and civic agencies.

People from neighbourhoods in and around the ORR, especially Mahadevapura, Varthur, Whitefield, Hoodi, Doddanekundi, Kadugodi, Marathahalli, Hagadur and Channasandra, came out on the streets to voice their displeasure with elected representatives and civic agencies.   | Photo Credit: Pranav Kumar M S

 

Jagadish Reddy of Varthur Rising said, “When several hundred people are protesting, elected representatives do not turn up. Worse, they do not even bother to receive our complaints.”

Government school teacher seeks more teachers, better toilets

A teacher from a government school joined the protest to demand better infrastructure at her school in Mahadevapura. “I am a science teacher. I volunteered to teach English because there aren’t enough teachers in my school. The pressure of handling multiple subjects makes many of my colleagues leave their jobs,” she said.

The budget for the maintenance of toilets in government schools is inadequate. “When I spoke to some workers at government schools, I found out that, in many schools, the annual budget for cleaning toilets is as little as ₹2,500. As a result, toilets are not maintained properly, and school children cannot use them safely. Public toilets in various wards are built on time without hassle, but their maintenance is something that needs to be looked at.”

Why call it rush hour when nothing moves, ask Bengaluru residents

‘Bear the pain for some long-term gains’

Acknowledging the issues highlighted by citizens, BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar said that the civic body is working with other government agencies to mitigate the problems.

“There are many development works under way, and many more have been sanctioned. Change is taking place, but it takes time. Most of the projects are long-term, permanent solutions,” he said.

A senior BWSSB official said that various works, including that of providing Cauvery water to 110 villages and laying underground drainage in various parts of Mahadevapura zone, are in progress. This, he explained, was responsible for some of the inconvenience faced by residents and commuters. “These are essential services. Once they are completed, it is the residents who will be the main beneficiaries,” the official said.

Randeep D., Special Commissioner of BBMP in charge of Bommanahalli and Mahadevapura zones, said that the civic body had fast-tracked various projects in the area and would ensure that projects are completed on time. “I have spoken to many citizens and assured more interaction from the BBMP’s side, and proper follow-up on the projects,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 8:44:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/why-call-it-rush-hour-when-nothing-moves/article29738949.ece

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