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A resident's assessment of Mr Ramalinga Reddy (Cong), BTM layout MLA - 09-13.

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While Daksh - Citizen Matters performane analysis of the MLA is accessible here, as also an interview by the Citizen Matters reporter (accessible here), I thought I'll make my own analysis as an involved resident of the S T Bed layout, coming under the constituency. Well, of course, it is my individual perception, and even if I have tried to be as objective as possible, it will certaibly be influenced by the biases I may have developed over the years. And, that's why I have published it in an open forum so that others can comment on it too, if they so wish. The idea is to generate a debate, beyond what is possible in RWA meetings, with a view to provide a 'genuine' feedback to the elected representatives (as compared to the platitudinous talk that the RWA meetings tend to generate), and hopefully improve governance, and quality of life for the residents, therewith.

Perhaps, it may be a goood idea for 'prajagalu' in every constituency to undertake such an exercise, now, as well as right through the five-year term.

The positives:
1) His overall approachability. He generally keeps a record of the phone numbers of RWA representatives (which earlier, I was), and very often attends to calls personally even.

2) What the residents of the S T Bed layout will be ever grateful to him is for doing up the roads, almost within 6 months of his getting elected. This was in fact the point repeatedly emphasised by the President of the S T Bed RWA at the meeting convened by him recently (essentially to canvass support for Mr Reddy), as also on the consequent property price appreciation.

3) The Koramangala 3rd block residents are generally quite appreciative of his support in evicting a cricket coaching set-up in the in the local play-ground, and converting half of it into a beautifully laid park.

The negatives:
Approachability: On the question of approachability, that it not yet through the net, I would consider unsatisfactory.

Roads: While doing up the roads in S T Bed layout, the 'drain-edge to drain-edge' concreting resorted to, without a care in the world for trees/ plants or pedestrians, was a major undoing. If one wishes to be charitable to the MLA, it can be said that the blame for the same should lie with a vocal section of the local RWA. Also, it can be said to his credit that when the matter was presented before him properly, he responded quite positively, and made an effort to contain the damage (check here)

Wasteful expenditure: Perhaps, it can be said of him, quite like of many others too, that their main objective in the constituency "development" has been to keep the contractors (who perhaps funded their elections) busy, rather than out of a genuine concern for the welfare of the residents. Examples here are plenty - one, two, and there are more. He seems to take pride in getting more and more funds sanctioned for his constituency, and spending them, irrespective of whether the works are needed to be carried out or not. There is hardly any care for the fact that the tax paying citizens are paying through their nose for this profligacy, besides the fact of deprivation of funds for other much needed works, even if they be in other constituencies. His backing (or, rather fronting) of the infamous Rs 130 cr Sarjapur road signal-free corridor (some four fly-over/ underpass combo's, over a 3km stretch, which a high-powered Committee of the GoK has eventually recommended abandonment, and resporation of the road to its original status - check here for details) is of a piece with this approach.

Simultaneously, in his recent address of the residents, he lamented over his inability to pursue more 'development' works for paucity of funds with the BBMP - in fact, he mentioned a figure of Rs 4000 cr as owing to the contractors by BBMP. Should this surprise anybody? In fact, it is this kind of a profligacy that is responsible for the tremendous level of inflation the country has been burdened with of recent.

In the recent address of the residents, as also in the interview to Citizen Matters, the emphasis again was largely on building of fly-overs and underpasses, with no mention whatsoever of the poor state of the footpaths, and other pedestrian (non) - facilities. In fact, the footpaths have been narrowed down considerably at a number of places (like here), to allow for widening of the carriage-way for smoother movement of vehicles. The pedestrian has essentially been downgraded to a third-class citizen who is now required to do a balancing act on a 1-ft wide slab, wedged between the compound wall on the one side and all kinds of obstructions on the other. And, one badly placed slab (which is more the rule than a rarity) will land him in the drain, perhaps with a few broken bones.

In the Citizen Matters interview, he has stated that "Work has already started on the construction of a new library in BTM". Is the building in the picture below (in S T Bed layout) supposed to be a library too? I have not seen much of an activity there. So, is it serving any purpose?

Rampant commercialisation: The property price appreciation, that the RWA president lauded the MLA over, has led to rampant commercialisation of the layout. The way things are evolving, it will not be too long before the S T Bed layout also starts looking like the 6th, 7th and 8th blocks of today. While that may be advantageous to businessmen, I wonder if the residents are going to be happy about it.

Public transport: The MLA doesn't seem much in the know of what is going on; neither does he seem too concerned. In the Citizen Matters interview, he has stated that "We got a BMTC bus station completed in Koramangala and there is a proposal for the construction of another in BTM Layout". But, is he aware of the problems caused by the parking of the buses overnight on the roads, resulting out of the bus station (TTMC - check this) coming up at the location? Is he also aware that the huge complex is lying largely empty, even years after its commissioning, thus becoming an additional burden on the already over-burdened tax payer?

Water supply: His approach seems to the traditional 'sinking of borewells'. No talk whatsoever of curbing the 'unaccounted for losses' (euphemism for theft) in BWSSB supplies; none on rejuvenation of lakes; none on rain-water harvesting.

Storm-water drains: Stinking storm-water (rather sewage drains) drains criss-cross the constituency, with many of them choked with debris and garbage, as also because of encroachment. There is hardly any talk of doing anything about it.

Power supply: Apparently, it is not an issue with the constituency residents any longer. They have learned to manage with stand-by systems in case of power failures. Besides, BESCOM (under Mr Manivannan) has been managing the bad situation fairly well. Can he continue to do so? - well, why should we look beyond today, right? How Delhi is tackling the problem (check this) is apparently beyond the MLA's radar.  

Unsafe constructions: Unsafe and apparently illegal constructions in the so-called 'revenue pockets', of which there are plenty in the constituency (like the one here), are the recent Mumbra (Thane), and Dakka (Bangladesh) kind of disasters waiting to happen, in the constituency. While there doesn't appear to any check on them, the question that arises besides is whether these are being carried on with the blessings on the neta's (quite like in Mumbra)?

Unusable park: The MLA, perhaps at the instance of the local RWA, has got a park, laid out abutting the storm-water drain, in the S T Bed layout - check this. The reason given apparently was to prevent encroachment. Not surprisingly, nobody has any use for the park. The location would have been ideal for a public toilet, of which there is hardly any in the locality. The problem is also that nobody wants a public toilet in his neighborhood. But, that's because they are seldom maintained properly. However, can you then wish them away? The answer is proper maintenance, perhaps through a local PPP, as suggested here. Would the MLA like to look at that?

Parks: Lots of money was spent on doing up the parks in the constituency. But, as the incumbent Commissioner has pointed out, it is costing the BBMP huge to maintian them, particularly for the watering. As such, there is a move to convert the gardens into "tree parks", which will in addition help augment the ground water resources. I am not sure the MLA, or the RWA's, have given sufficient thought to this.

Children's play-ground: The only patch of children's play-ground in the whole of S T Bed layout was concreted recently, with a stage built-up at one end, besides. This was done apparently at the instance of the local RWA. But, this is in total violation of existing rules. How was this allowed?

Active burial ground: This burial ground remains active even today, in spite of its location right in the midst of a densely-populated, high-rise residential area. Apparently, all that the MLA has to say about it is that it is a "touchy" subject. So, are the residents expected to learn to live with it? Can't there be a solution?

Cattle rearing: This again is supposed to be a 'touchy' issue. But then, what about the question of "animal rights", involved?

Ward Committees: Even after the High Court pulling up the BBMP and the GoK for not facilitating the proper functioning of the Ward Committee's, neither the MLA, nor the Corporators from the constituency (mostly from his party), have done much in the matter. A list of nominees, purportedly submitted by the S T bed layout RWA President, has not seen the light of day. Meanwhile, we are told that Committees in some wards have already been formed, with members hand-picked by the Corporators, though there is very little known about their functioning. Is that a satisfactory situation?

Mr Reddy's views on City Governance Bill etc nobody seems to have asked, since he himself generally asks the residents to confine themselves to local issues.

Though, overall, I have dwelt far more on the negatives than on the positives, Mr Ramalinga Reddy apparently is the most favoured candidate to win. And, if that happens, and the Congress is able to form a government, he is very likely to become a minister too. Well, in that case, perhaps, he would like to go through these comments and see if they are worth acting upon.

Muralidhar Rao



murali772's picture

unflattering report

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The survey gives thumbs down to the five ministers representing Bangalore. Transport minister B Ramalinga Reddy, who is in charge of the city, has secured the lowest score of 3.96 among them. 
For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.
His score, particularly under the head "unauthorised construction" is the lowest at 2.43. Quite telling.
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

He has no idea about what is

195 users have liked.

He has no idea about what is governance. In your own words, he has indulged and he shall indulge in the advocacy of maximum government and minimum governance. (Mai Baap Government)

kamalakar pandit's picture

I dont know how they rate..

210 users have liked.

I really dont know how the rating is done...If you ask me personally every one is bad. they all talk but implementation zero...take any infrastructure always delays...blame game starts with in the all MLA's are not worth giving the ranking...

god save us.



murali772's picture

perhaps, not so formidable, after all!

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Even senior ministers Roshan Baig and Ramalinga Reddy, considered political veterans, lost their margins. While Reddy’s margin reduced to 20,478 from 49,048 in 2013, Baig’s came down to 15,040 from 20,855.
For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.
So, the formidable 7th time MLA, and senior minister, too is beginning to find the going tough, after all, even though pitched against a newbie, Lallesh Reddy of BJP. Well, times are a-changing, one may say.  
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