Monday, March 17, 2008

Deccan Herald - Basic amenities missing

Deccan Herald - Basic amenities missing: "Did you know that the erstwhile Bommanahalli City Municipal Council (CMC), a cluster of villages located in between Sarjapur Road and Kanakpura Road, had won the best CMC Award in Karnataka in 1996-97 for its best public service?

But this `fame’ ceased to continue much before the CMC along with 33 villages were subsumed into the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) limits to form a new zone called Bommanahalli. Mostly occupied by major industries and IT companies, this zone is close to Narayana Hrudayalaya, one of the well-known heart hospitals in the City and is home to a major chunk of the Electronics City.

In fact, the Bommanahalli CMC alone catalysed the need for merger of the CMCs into BMP limits, especially after 2005’s deluge that exposed the pathetic condition of roads, drains and water supply.

Residents lament that the merger has not made any difference in terms of better amenities. While land prices have drastically gone up in the last few years, it is a literal struggle by residents for basic amenities.

Drinking water is a scarce commodity in most areas of the zone, especially in Hongasandra, Chikkanahalli, Billekahlli, Garvebhavipalya, Vajpayeenagar and Shanthi Layout. The authorities supply water once in four days and this sometimes stretches even to once a week.

According to S Lakshman Kumar and Lingaraju of the Bommanahalli Nagarika Hitarakshana Vedike, the erstwhile Bommanahalli City Municipal Council (CMC) used to provide water to the residents through borewells it had dug. “But indiscriminate drilling of borewells by private water suppliers reduced the availability in the CMC's borewells. Many private water suppliers have drilled borewells up to 1,000 feet while most CMC borewells are about 300 to 500 feet deep,” he said.

That apart, the residents are also deprived of proper sanitation. Unplanned and haphazard growth and unauthorised constructions have resulted in encroachment and clogging of the ‘rajakaluves’ (the main canals). This causes a deluge in the area even after a drizzle and people have been put to great hardship.

Several areas, especially Puttenahalli, HSR and Pai Layouts and most roads in the area are the worst affected every monsoon. The entire Hosur Road was immersed in water disconnecting the IT belt from the City last year.
This had forced the BBMP authorities to take up a major encroachment removal drive in Puttenahalli. Portions of several houses that had encroached upon the drains were removed amidst stiff opposition from residents.

With a booming construction activity in the zone, BBMP officials hope to bring all properties in the tax net. With just 27,000 properties being assessed for tax so far, the civic body has started digital mapping of all properties in the zone using the Geographical Information System (GIS).

“We have managed to collect Rs 24 crore as property tax in the last one year. With a target of Rs 55 crore for the coming year, we hope to mobilise more funds for developing infrastructure in the area,” a jurisdictional BBMP official said.

More borewells were being drilled to ensure regular water supply. Work on providing Cauvery water to the area is under progress as part of the Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project (GBWASP), the official added."

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