KARNATAKA

Chickballapur town craves for amenities

B.S. Ramesh and K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

Water crisis is a common feature in summer



Chickballapur has more than 3,000 acres under grape cultivation

There is no major source of drinking water



BANGALORE: It is an irony that perhaps best describes the growing pains of urbanisation. Situated about 60 km from Bangalore, the district headquarters of Chickballapur is best known for growing high-quality potatoes and grapes. Unfortunately, almost the entire quantity of high-quality vegetables and fruits are sent to Bangalore and Hyderabad, leaving the residents with leftovers which barely satiate their taste buds.

If the residents of Chickballapur want to savour the delights of a good potato, brinjal, ladies finger or even grapes, they have to come to Bangalore where it is available in plenty. The residents have to pay in Bangalore at least twice or thrice the price they would have paid in their place.

Despite severe shortage of water, Chickballapur has more than 3,000 acres under grape cultivation. The hot and humid climate suits cultivation of grape, but lack of water and insecticides is a major problem for the growers. If water for agricultural purposes is inadequate, the drinking water scenario in the entire district is frightening. Apart from tanks and lakes, there is no other major source of drinking water and almost the entire district faces severe water scarcity during summer.

Elected representatives seem to have done little to redress the problem, a fact acknowledged by Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Chickballapur P.S. Prakesh.

A Kannada film director, who has made Chickballapur his home for more than two decades, Mr. Prakash appears horrified at the stink and squalor surrounding the town. He sarcastically says that after Chickballapur was designated a district, the prices in the city shot up overnight.

He says apart from uncleared garbage, the boiling of mushrooms by silk units located in houses in the central part of the city emit a nauseating smell.

A small slum near the Chickballapur Railway Station is a nuisance to the residents. The slum has no toilet or washroom.

Residents of other areas complain that though Chickballapur was a reserved constituency for 30 years, elected representatives gave little or no attention to providing civic amenities.

However, some of the candidates and even local residents are unhappy that money and liquor is flowing into Chickballapur and that the authorities have done little to check it.

They allege that a candidate has been distributing Rs. 500 for each vote promised to him.

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