patrol beat

The Rising Stars - by Sunitha Rao R/TNN

Residential localities, hitherto unheard of or which made news for all the wrong reasons, are climbing the charts rather rapidly to emerge as some of the best areas in the city to live in from a civic perspective. The Bangalore Patrol survey shows that wards like Kamakshi Palya, SK Garden, Pulakeshi Nagar which were earlier known for their perennial problems with roads, water and drainage have leap-frogged the better known localities in the listing of the best wards of Bangalore.

Not many Bangaloreans would have heard about this tiny pocket on Magadi Road called Kamakshi Palya. But the ward that was earlier known for its filthy narrow roads and decrepit appearance has now topped the city in the sanitation standard, much to the surprise of the surveyors themselves. Ranked over all at seventh, Kamakshi Palya which falls under Rajajinagar constituency that houses areas such as BEML Layout, West of Chord Road Stage1 , Meenakshi Nagar, Cauvery Nagar, KHB Colony, AK Colony, Ashtagrama and Karekallu, it turns out has the best sanitation in the city. The parameters in sanitation score include access to sewerage network, coverage of storm water drains, cleanliness on roads. Besides, Kamakshi Palya is the only ward that scores ten out of ten among the top 20 wards.

Ward number 61, S K garden is another pleasant surprise that strikes you as you scan the rank list. The ward has slums like Madina Mohalla, Tank Mohalla and S K Garden slums where drainage is an issue. Water over flowing on the streets during rainy season used to a nightmare. The ward includes certain portions of Sagayapuram, Pulakeshi nagar and DJ Halli which explains the good score. But the neighbouring ward, DJ Halli, which gave up its parks and playground to the surrounding wards during delimitation stands at 100th rank!

Marenahalli, ranked 20, is a blend of urban residential layouts and a small portion of Marenahalli after which the ward is named. Situated close to Vijayanagar, it was on the outskirts of the city a decade ago. Today it has become a prominent locality that houses Saraswathi Nagar, Central Exchange Layout and Maruthi layout.

Delimitation came as boon here
Though unscientific delimitation cut the wards into different pieces, it has helped some wards like JP Nagar score better by being able to shed its less civic smart portions. JP Nagar is now the third best ward to live in Bangalore and this has been made possible by it being separated from Puttenahalli. Puttenahalli which has a rank of 136 ranks was earlier a part of JP Nagar and the wards were split during the delimitation of wards. The Puttenahalli underpass construction that’s been going for the past two and a half years had created enough civic problems to the residents there, throwing their water supply, and transportation asunder. The difference between the two adjoining areas can be seen from the fact that while Puttenahalli scores 138th rank in water score JP Nagar tops the list in water score.

Shakambari Nagar ward that has secured 21st rank was synonymous with flooding in South of Bangalore. One of the lowest lying areas of the city it has seen an improvement over the years. A reason could be the the Marenahalli tank bed which used to make road over flow with drainage water during heavy downpour is now part of Pattabhiram Nagar and thus doesn’t reflect in the Shakambari Nagar scores.

Another surprise is to see Pulakeshi Nagar ward, not renowned as one of the best localities in the city, rank 28th ahead of say Malleswaram. The ward which has issues with garbage, filthy storm water drains does well for it scores the 8th rank on both environment and sanitation.

Revenue spinners ignored
The survey also proves the point that the civic agencies neglect wards which are money spinners for the city. The commercial hubs like Shanthala Nagar that includes MG Road, Brigade road, Richmond road, Lavelle road makes huge contribution to BBMP’s property tax collection, but the same ward suffers from lack of basic civic amenities.

Ditto with wards like Shivaji Nagar that houses Commercial street, a top choice with shoppers’ in the city. Every tourist who visits Bangalore, makes it a point to visit these commercial hubs, only to witness the pathetic state of civic amenities there. Ward number 92, Shivaji Nagar, is in 151th position in the ward ranking. Sampangiram Nagar to which a portion of Commercial street falls, also suffers the same status despite housing Bangalore Mahanagar Palike’s central office. Interestingly, despite being in the heart of the city, the ward suffers when it comes to mobility. The mobility score of the ward is 161!

The Patrol is a wake-up call to corporators of these high revenue generating wards to make the living and shopping experience of people here better.