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Listing points I'd like to be taken up at Egipura Ward (No148) Committee meet

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Governance
Listing below points that I's like taken up at the Egipura Ward (No 148) Committee meet scheduled for 11AM on 1st Dec, '18:
 
1) Flood mitigation plan: What had been told to us is that a pipe is being laid below the road from near Sony World junction to near Kamal Bakery junction, where the water will be collected in a wet-well, and pumped through another web of pipes (below the SWD) to the Bellandur lake. Can we have more details on the project, as also the current status?
 
2) New Sewage line: 6ft dia pipes are currently being laid in the Nirguna mandir layout main road, supposedly to convey sewage from near Games Village/ New Mantri mall/ Passport office area to Bellandur lake via the SWD/ S T Bed layout 1st main (check here). Where is the STP for this going to be located? Wouldn't it have been better (and much cheaper) to have the STP located near the source itself, particularly when all new housing complexes with 50 units or more are having to set up their own captive STP's? Also, what is the current status of the project?
 
3) SWD: Why is sewage flowing in our SWD's? Is there an overall map of the existing sewage disposal system peretaining to the ward/ area? Can it be made accessible to the public?
 
4) Power Supply: BESCOM supply is seen to be very erratic, seriuosly affecting the quality of life, including of the common man. Very often, when supply is restored after a break/ interruption/ shut-down/ load-shedding, it is found that the phases are reversed, posing a great hazard to equipment of all types. This is apart from the huge consumption of costly diesel oil for operating gen-sets, which is in turn adding hugely to severe air pollution.  
 
At a meeting held almost a month back, the MLA had stated that he will take up the matter of improving the power supply to near 100% reliability level (as in Delhi, Mumbai, etc), by privatising, if required (check here). What is the status on that?
 
5) Walkability: Along a number of roads, the only provision for walking is on slabs laid on road-side drains. This is totally unacceptable, more so with many slabs laid in an uneven manner, many broken and many missing, making it all very hazardous for the pedestrian. What is needed is "TenderSure" quality walk-ways/ foot-paths.
 
I will add more as we go along.  
 
Muralidhar Rao
 

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2nd set

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1) Akrama galore: The ward, particularly the so-called revenue layouts, is teeming with buildings constructed in total violation of all rules, be it set-back, fire safety, et al. Apparently, many have not even engaged qualified professionals for structural design, leading to quite a few mishaps too, most often with fatalities - check here for more on the subject. And, this is an on-going process, even as the highest court in the country itself has ordered out-right demolition of such buildings - check here. Is the BBMP waiting for someone to file contempt petition?     
 
2) Commercialisation: This is another area where the court has issued clear orders to close down establishments not properly licenced to carry on their trades. Why has no action been taken yet?
 
3) Borewells: There is severe over-exploitation of ground water resources, and very little re-charge happening, partly on account of the concretisation of the SWD's. What are the plans in the ward/ constituency for sustainable solutions to the impending problems we are faced with in this critical area? Check here for possible answers. 
 
4) Cattle rearing: With the dairy industry having established itself fairly well in the country, it is neither practical nor economical (nor hygienic) to be rearing cattle right in the heart of a city. Can the people involved be compensated adequately and close down the activity? - check here for more details. 
 
5) Traffic: With the Egipura-Madiwala fly-over coming up, Koramangalites have been deprived of an opportunity to have METRO connectivity. While this is unfortunate, even more unfortunate is the fact there does not appear to be any effective feeder bus service to the closest Metro station in Indiranagar, leading to all of Koramangalites having to take out their personal vehicles, even for their work-day commutes, jamming up the roads all over. The problem can be very easily addressed by allowing for an "almost Social-enterprise-PPP" model for bus services - check here. The WC needs to pursue this with the City government.
  
Going back to the Egipura-Madiwala fly-over, the plans for handling the traffic that will build up at the bottlenecks at the up/ down ramps (which spots are already cramped) are not clear. Can some clarity be provided?
 
Further, a road connecting Egipura junction and Sarjapur road (at Agara lake-front) had been proposed in the 2015 master-plan. This is crucial in view of the massive housing projects coming up in the Nirguna-Mandir layout area. What is the status of that?
 
Also, the traffic police has made the Srinivagilu village road one-way (for 3 & 4 - wheelers) allowing for flow of traffic towards the Egipura junction. S T Bed layout residents are largely of the opinion that the flow in the reverse direction will be better in everyone's interest. Perhaps, this could be taken up with the traffic police authorities. 
 
6) White topping: While many of the roads in the ward/ constituency have been taken up for white-topping work, the fear is that proper provisions for running utility lines may not have been made, leading to extremely disruptive and costly re-works whenever new connections are required to be provided (or repairs of existing connections are to be undertaken). As such, it would be best if the white-topping, very costly as it is, is limited to just the arterial roads, with adequate provisionings made for utility lines, well in advance. 
 
7) Telecom cables: The entire constituency is looking extremely shabby with telecom cables slung all over on trees, light poles, etc in a most dis-orderly fashion. It is a shame that the tech capital of the country has allowed things to go on this way, even a small city like Raipur (MP) is working on doing it in an orderly way - check here
 
8) Dumping of waste into SWD: This has become a regular feature now. It is most shocking that the culprits haven't yet been identified and deterrent punishment meted out to them, to prevent their committing such offence repeatedly. This needs immediate attention.  
 
9) Vending/ Hawking zones: Well over two years back, the High Court had ordered the #BBMP to identify and establish hawking zones (perhaps a minumum of one in each ward) - check here. Now for want of the same, all open spaces across the ward (and in fact the entire city), more importantly the footpaths, are increasingly seen to be occupied by vendors, posing all kinds of problems to pedestrians as also the tax-paying shop-keepers. A co-ordinated plan for addressing this problem needs to be taken up.
 
10) Sanitation: With the on-going construction activities of massive housing complexes in the Nirguna Mandir layout, the contractors are supposedly arranging for housing the labour in 'shanties' in the nearby open sites. The question that arises thereof is on the sanitation aspects in these shanties, more so because of the spread of Chickengunya, Dengue, Malaria and other viral diseases that are showing up in epidemic proprtions in the recent past. What are the steps the health department is taking with regard to these? 

 

Muralidhar Rao
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ward committee is a wonderful

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ward committee is a wonderful development..which is crucial in a democracy..hope it can be emulated elsewhere in the state soon

About the points you mention above sir, they are all very valid and need immdiate attention..

However was wondering if bringing a structure to these meetings could take precedence..

I was thinking the we could start with something like the following:

  1. Getting to know how the ward work is done (handling garbage to laying roads and utilities etc). The corporators could do a presentation on it.
  2. What is the budget that the individual wards have, what are the projections.
  3. What are the current work being done and what is the history. If there is no history being maintained, we might want to get a  structure to maintain one.
  4. What are regular mainatenance projects and what are adhoc/emergency

In all, we might want to first learn how they work and then try to prop our items as citizens of the ward.

 

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July WC meet and lack of action thereof

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From a translation of the minutes (original in Kannada sent to me by member, Sri Rajandra Babu) of the Ward Committee (no 148) meeting, held on 6-7-2019, I have made the following notes (I had not attended the meet):
 
Members present: Sri Sadappa, Sri Ramanujam, Smt K Seethamahalakshmi, Smt Sugunamma, Sri Rajendra Babu, Sri Stalin, Sri Chinnapai G N
 
Officers present: Sri Chandrashekar, Secretary & Nodal officer & Assistant Engineer, Sri Mallikarjunaiah, ASI, Vivekanagar police station
 
Points discussed:
1) Gambling - happening in 3rd A cross of RA road.
2) Vehicle workshops occupying roads.
3) Borewell leakage causing huge water wastage. 
4) Road and pot-holes repair 
5) Removal of pipes and steel rods stored in the road by BWSSB
6) Street vendors 
7) Garbage menace - waste management in the area
8) Mosquito menace 
 
The meeting concluded with the nodal officer making notes of all of the above.
 
There was no mention of any action taken on any of the points raised in earlier meetings, including the points I had raised at 1st Dec meet (scroll above to check my opening post), and a subsequent meet too. 
 
Meanwhile, we keep getting regular messages inviting us to attend Pooja's for new schemes being taken up, like the one below,
 
Please Attend Pooja Programme for Providing New Interlocking Pavers(Cobble Stone Pavers) to All Damaged Roads of RA Road 3rd,4th Cross & 4th A Cross,8th & 8th A Cross,10th A cross &10th A,1st & 2nd cross,18th cross(Behind Bus Stand) & 20th H & I cross Roads in Ejipura Ward-148, BTM Constituency under MLA Special Grants on 01/08/19(Thursday) Time:10AM, Pooja Place: RA Road 8th A Cross (Near Velanganni Chappel) Ejipura with presence of Sri Ramachandra BBMP Corporator & Residents of Ejipura. All are welcome. Est Cost: Rs 2.5 Crs
From: Ramalinga Reddy MLA & Ex Home Minister GOK
 
though no information on the same was made available at the Ward Committee meet. Essentially, the Ward Committee's are not functioning quite in the spirit they are supposed to. 
 
This is what we (from BAF-BTR) took up with the MLA too at our meeting with him on 20th July(check here), including a request that we be represented on the Ward Committee. 
 
I'll be pursuing the matter.
Muralidhar Rao
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points to be taken up at 7th Sept WC meeting

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Letter as below mailed to DC, Bangalore South @ <dcsouth.bbmp@gmail.com
 
Apart from a mail from Mr Rajendra Babu (Ward Committee member), suggesting that I attend the September WC meeting, it is regrettable that there has been no response whatsoever from you or any of your officials. 
 
I propose to attend the meet on 7th September. However, since I have many other engagements the same day, I am submitting in advance (as listed below) some of the key issues I would like taken up at the meet (these are based on the current developments pertaining to the issues already listed by me earlier):
 
1) Traffic: 
a) Egipura-KendriyaSadan fly-over: The work is progressing very slowly. Even as some of the pillars have reached their full height, many seem to be at the foundation stage even now. Meanwhile, main-stream media has reported that many of the establishments along the way are refusing to surrender land, against compensation in the form of TDR, sending fears among the residents that there could be further delay. What exactly is the current status?
  
Further, can we have scale models displayed (in say the ward office) of the arrangements at the up/ down ramps at both ends (which spots are already cramped) to get an understanding of what the future holds (this should have been done even before the work started).
 
b) the road connecting Egipura junction and Sarjapur road (at Agara lake-front) had been proposed in the 2015 master-plan. This is crucial in view of the massive housing projects coming up in the Nirguna-Mandir layout area. What is the status of that?
 
c) There is near total consensus of opinion among S T Bed layout residents that the Srinivagilu village road should be a one-way (for 3 & 4 - wheelers). The majority is also of the opinion that the flow should be from Ganesha temple towards Ejipura junction, which is convenient for the traffic police also, since they have a permanent post at the Ejipura junction. But, for reasons not quite clear, the one-way rule is being implemented in fits & jerks and in the wrong direction, requiring the stationing of a constable at the Ganesha temple junction (which is obviously proving difficult for the traffic police). Can this be corrected, please?
 
2) Flood mitigation plan: What had been told to us is that a pipe is being laid below the road from near Sony World junction to near Kamal Bakery junction, where the water will be collected in a wet-well, and pumped through another web of pipes (below the SWD at the Seva-in-Action junction) to the Bellandur lake. Apparently, the big dig around Prestige Pinewood is part of this. Can we have more details on the project, as also the current status?
 
3) New Sewage line: 6ft dia pipes have apparently been laid in the Nirguna mandir layout main road, supposedly to convey sewage from near Games Village to Belur Nagasandra STP complex (on the Northern edge of Bellandur lake). Apparently, the pipes are to be laid under the SWD bed - meaning also below the bridges at Seva-in-Action, Maharaja junction, and the one adjacent to Naveen Terraces. What is the current status of the project? If the job is to go ahead as per current plan, have aspects of safety of the high-rise buildings, that have come up on both the sides of the SWD, been taken into consideration? 
 
All of the other points listed by me on 29th Nov '18, and 24th Dec '18, also may kindly be addressed.
Muralidhar Rao
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text of letter to Jt Commissioner, BBMP, South

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Pursuant to my letter addressed to the Jt Commissioner, Bangalore South (refer my post of 5th Sept, above), the Ward/ Constituency Health Officer called, and came over to meet me. Following that, I have mailed a letter, worded as below, to JC, BBMP, South, which is self-explanatory:
 
Thank you for assigning the Ward Health officer, to meet us personally and discuss solutions to the various issues raised by us in the Ward Committees (copy of which was sent to you). 
 
Not surprisingly, the Health Officer was not in a position to offer solutions to the issues raised, since inputs from other governmental agencies involved was not readily available with him. 
 
The whole idea of the Ward Committee (apart from the Area Sabha), one had thought, was specifically to co-ordinate the workings of the agencies involved, in planning and executing works/ projects, according to priorities set by the citizens.
 
This was recently reiterated by the Karnataka High Court too, going by the following excerpts, in it's interim order dt 24/09/19 in Writ Petition no 42927/ 2015: 
 
"On perusing the compliance report, it is crystal clear that these directions have not been complied with as the second respondent has not placed on record the monthly reports submitted by the Wards Committee. - - - We direct BBMP to file compliance report placing on record, the reports received from the various Wards Committee of BBMP and shall also submit the details of the grievances/complaints received from the citizens about the poor conditions of the streets and details of the action taken there on. Such compliance report shall be filed before this Court on or before 18th October, 2019".
 
Unfortunately, what has been happening all this while is works/ projects being taken up in a most adhoc and non-transparent manner, without proper citizen consultation whatsoever. If there have been consultations, these have been mostly with small local groups, whereas, for projects of the size of the massive Ejipura-KendriyaSadan fly-over (a Metro along the route would have been a far better solution to our traffic problems), the 4th block flood mitigation project (the logic behind which nobody has been able to explain), etc, affecting the whole of the area and beyond, the consultations should have been on a far wider scale. Similar has been the case with other works/ projects listed in the letter too. Denial of funds for completion of these projects, by the new government, makes us wonder if proper sanctions had been accorded in all of these cases. 
 
Even as of two days back, we received a message from a party functionary, stating as below: 
 
"Please attend Pooja Programme for Remodelling of Drains, Footpath & Shoulder Drains on 80ft road from Sony World to Viveknagar Bridge in both Koramangala & Ejipura Wards, BTM Constituency under MLA Special Grants Scheme on 30/09/19(Monday). Est Cost Rs 5 Cr".
 
No information whatsoever was made available on whether this was discussed at the Ward Committee meet, on whether a Job Code has been issued, or even on technical issues like whether re-charge pits are being incorporated in the re-modelled drains.
  
And, we keep getting such invitations on a regular basis, more or less in similar fashion.
 
The Ward Committee meets (quite a few of which I have attended) have been turned into just individual level grievance redressal fora, which you will appreciate, is not quite the purpose they are supposed to serve. 
 
What we are seeking now is routing, of all of the works proposed to be taken up in the Ward/ Assembly consituency, through the constitutional route of the Ward Committee/ Area Sabha, from the conceptual/ planning stage itself, in a totally transparent manner, and according to priorities set by the citizens. 
 
Meanwhile, we would be grateful for a formal response to each of the points listed in our letter of 7th Sept, '19.
 
Thanking you, Yours truly,
sd/- Muralidhar Rao, for BAF-BTM cluster.

 

Muralidhar Rao
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Gist of 9th Sept WC meeting - again nothing of note

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Points discussed:
1) Pot-holes all over the ward roads
2) malfunctioning transformer on G G road
3) need for anti-mosquito spraying in areas near Tibetan hostel
4) unsatisfactory waste disposal
5) unsatisfactory progress of the fly-over work
6) heaps of mud blocking footpaths in the burial ground
7) silt removal from road-side drains and their proper disposal
8) damaged BWSSB valve on G G road, causing heavy leakage.
 
These were extracted from the minutes that Mr Rajendra Babu (President of S T Bed layout RWA, and a WC member) circulated, in the local WhatsApp group (I did not attend the meet).
 
Apparently, it followed the same pattern as the July meeting (refer my ost of 13th Aug, scrolling above), with none of the major points listed in my letter to the Jt Commissioner (refer my post of 5th Sept, scrolling above) being taken up for discussion.
 
Essentially, the WC meetings were turning into just grievance redressal meetings, with no discussions whatsoever on the way forward for the ward or the constituency. Going by the recent observations made by the High Court against WP 42927/ 2015, one would like to believe there has to be better accountability from the WC's. Perhaps the Civil Society needs to come together to demand it.
Muralidhar Rao
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totally against the spirit of the 74th amendment

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Civic activist Kathyayini Chamaraj recently learned that she and three others have been “removed” from the Shanthinagar ward committee, based on a recommendation of the local councillor.
 
The irony is not lost on her, given that she had been fighting for the implementation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment with regard to setting up of ward committees. The other three people who were removed are Nirupama Sharma, Rajesh Nagpal and Edgar Britto.
 
- - - Local councillor Sowmya Shivakumar said, “Though the BBMP council approved the subject in July, we got the council copy only recently. Ward committee members can be changed and the Commissioner had said so in one of the council meetings.”
 
Srinivas Alavilli from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) termed the removal of the four members as “unfair, unfortunate and undemocratic”. “Through CfB, we got 660 active citizens to apply to be part of ward committees. However, only three were appointed, while the other applications were junked,” he said, adding that many councillors still view ward committees with suspicion.
 
For the full text of the report in The Hindu, click here.
 
Far from becoming more accountable, the Councillors seem to be summarily removing members who ask pertinent questions. I expect Ms Kathyayini will take it up with the High court.
 
Incidentally, I was also amongst the 660 odd 'active citizens' who applied for membership of our Ward Committee. Apparently, it was never considered in the first place, and consequently, I am not having to face removal.
 
All in all, not a statisfactory state of affairs, and totally against the spirit of the 74th amendment.
 
Muralidhar Rao
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meeting with Spl Commissioner, BBMP, South

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In view of the unsatisfactory functioning of the Ward Committee's under the BTM constituency, on behalf on the BAF-BTM cluster, I made a PPT presentation before Sri Lokesh, IAS, Spl Commissioner, BBMP, South, on the 19th Oct, 2019. Listed below are the bullet points from the presentation:
 
  • Ward Committee functioning: unsatisfactory - functions more like individual grievance redressal meetings - minutes, only in Kannada - BAF needs to be represented - in WP 42927/ 2015 HC has ordered BBMP to be more accountable. 
  • Ejipura-Kendriya Sadan fly-over: scale models of landings not displayed - work held up - delayed payments - no provision for loop from Agara link 
  • Ejipura - Agara link: hold up due to Army land hand-over ???
  • 4th block flood mitigation plan: partly done - siphon arrangement below Seva-in-Action bridge pending - questionable project - enormously costly - doubtful efficacy - ensuring smooth flow in SWD the only need.
  • 6 ft dia BWSSB sewage line: being laid from Games village to Belur Nagasandra STP complex - to be laid below the SWD bed by trench-less tunneling - hazards involved - re-routing possible???
  • Sewerage system for Temple Trees/ Cauvery layout (approx 150 houses): proposal is to direct sewage to wet-well at Bus-bay - pump to STP (power supply back-up) near Bellandur lake. Why not look at Dewats system?
  • Sewerage system in S T Bed layout: supposedly being collected at a wet-well beyond Seva-in-Action bridge, and pumped to STP - where is the wet-well? Is it functional? Or is it just being let into the SWD below the bridge? Can we have a schematic of the entire system for the area/ valley?
  • Walkability: Extremely poor - drain cover slabs (invariably poorly laid) as footpaths not satisfactory - accidents. Needs more focus than carriage-ways, particularly in residential areas.
  • Trees: Need to preserve greenery - only exception that can be made on footpaths is for trees.
  • Removal of places of worship on encroached land: SC/ HC contempt order - one on main road near Canara Bank - action needed
  • White topping: Not sure if adequate provisions made for repairs/ extensions of utility lines - needs to be taken up selectively, considering the huge costs involved.
  • Vending/ Hawking zone: needs to be identified - should not hamper pedestrian movement - Madiwala market ???
  • Akrama: rampant in so-called revenue layouts - but, extending to BDA layout even.
  • Commercialisation: encroaching onto residential areas - needs to be curbed.
  • Power supply: Erratic - huge dependence on gen-sets - Delhi model
  • Telecom Cables: haphazard laying - across trees - uglification of sky-scapes - drawing up of proper protocol
  • Cattle rearing: needs to be phased out
  • Grave-yard: at least fresh burials need to be prevented
 
Mr Lokesh listened to it all attentively, and has said he will come back to us after gathering info on all of the points raised from the ground. Of course, we do appreciate that there are various kinds of constraints all are working under. As such, our stress was largely on participative governance, through the Ward Committees, as envisaged under the constitution.
 
Muralidhar Rao

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