patrol beat

Happy But Want More - by Aarthi R/TNN

The Bangalore Patrol survey of the best wards of live in the city has thrown up real surprises with the favourites to top the poll unseated by dark horses. But that does not necessarily mean that those at the top are revelling in their good fortune. When it comes to civic sense, there’s nothing called “completely satisfied.”

The survey’s scientific observations of ward-level civic infrastructure available to the common man across all 198 wards has been widely accepted by the people. It is being used by people constructively to demand more and even better quality of delivery from even those fortunate enough to be living in the best areas of Bangalore.

So, are the residents of the top wards jumping with joy on seeing the fate of their area in the civic scorecard? Not exactly. Even those in the very best ward: Ganesh Mandir, have aspirations about a quality of life that has not yet been completely matched by what is available to them.

Ganesh Mandir tops mainly on account of the very good water and mobility conditions it enjoys. But there are some grey areas which can be improved upon,say the area’s longtime residents. “It’s a good ward but I am still not very satisfied about it,’’ says former minister B K Chandrasekhar.

His main grouse with his ward - the clogged roads, horrible hoardings and footpaths long encroached and hence, out of use. Topping his list of observations on mobility is this: the 17th main at BSK II stage is a crucial roadline but with parking on both sides, nearly 15 feet of the road is lost! Ravindranath Guru, another old resident and member of the local resident welfare association( RWA)er here, is also bemused by his ward’s chart topping performance. “This ward does not deserve the first rank. But perhaps other wards are worse. The main issue is cleanliness. There is no concept of solid waste management which is actually reflected in the sanitation score’’ he said.

Vasanthnagar is among the top 5 wards. “Sanitation is definitely poor so is mobility here and the Bangalore Patrol scores confirm our observations. Our biggest problem is that the corporator — Katta Jagadish — is not accessible at all now. The BBMP commissioner recently issued a circular for pothole filling but there’s nobody to monitor it. The road conditions and unscientific road humps are also adding to our mobility concerns,’’ N S Ramakant, a resident of Vasanthnagar for 70 years told TOI.

As for Siddapura residents, the 17th rank came as quite a surprise. A case of owner’s pride, neighbour’s envy. It’s a congested ward in South Bangalore that begins at Lal Bagh South/Siddapura gate and is dotted with slums. Mobility is also bad here as it ranks 114 on this indicator. For neighbouring ward residents who pass through this ward often, like C N Kumar, it comes as no surprise. “The roads are so narrow and there’s no footpaths here’’ he exclaims. But, the good water supply (infact many here even call it 24 hour stock) has got it into the top league.

Ward No. 179 Shakambari Nagar ranks 20 on the overall Bangalore Patrol — an initiative of the Times of India conceptualised and managed by Janaagraha — report card. But for Padmashree awardee Shashi Deshpande, this is the best ward. She had moved in here 20 years ago from Malleswaram.’No complaints’ is her first reaction when asked about the civic experience in the area. The best part of living here for many like her, has been the problem-free water supply and open spaces.

As for mobility, the increased number of buses introduced in this areas in recent times has come as a huge relief. Yet another positive has been the rising shopping spaces. “There was a time when we had to go to Jayanagar shopping complex for almost everything. But now, thankfully that’s not the case. However, the only concern is that all this has also wiped off the fairly good segregation we earlier had between residential and market areas here’’ explained the writer.

The ongoing Namma Metro works in this area has sure raised concerns but they hope to get over it soon once the metro’s off and running. However, sanitation conditions in the ward has many worried. Being ranked a middling 62 in the category clearly confirms the existing conditions. ‘It could definitely be better. We observe that most open drains here are dumped with trash,’ she says.

There are also a few residents like Ramesh Dutt from Radha Krishna Temple ward who even went on a quick survey across the ward, with the survey details to cross check. “Overall, the data is true in most cases. No doubt, I am happy to be living here, especially after seeing these ranks and scores,’’ says this elated resident living here since 1990. According to him, the Mobility rank 6 indicates fairly good road conditions. But, he also points out to some problem areas that could have brought the rankings low. “There are two major roads — New BEL road and Rajagopal road. We can definitely score higher if mobility concerns here are improved’’ he signed off.

The responses of the residents of the very best Bangalore can boast of throws up a simple reality: the best isn’t good enough. While good scores in a couple of parameters has pushed up the scores, the delivery of a few other civic services isn’t upto scratch even in these top scoring wards. Simply put, Bangalore has a lot of wards that would get a simple first class they couldn’t be termed as `distinction’ wards to borrow an exam analogy.