Bangaluru:“A large venomous snake sneaked into my compound about a month ago throwing my day’s routine haywire. Frantic calls to the BBMP to catch it did not help as they said they could step in only if it entered a house. After some time it entered the house,” recalls Firoza Begum of Abbigere, Dasarahalli, shuddering at the clearly fresh and fearful memory. The family had no option later but to turn to a local snake charmer to be rid of the snake.
Like many other people who have had unwelcome visits by the slithery reptiles, she blames the vacant, garbage and weed-filled sites in neighbourhoods around the city for their proliferation. Although HSR Layout is much sought after owing to its booming land value, an offshoot of the large number of Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) companies around it, it has a large number of vacant sites and all the problems associated with them.
Hardly ever maintained by their owners, most vacant plots in the area have become a dumping yard for garbage and a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents. Take site number 730, on 8th Main, Sector 7, HSR Layout, which has all the telling signs of its two decades old neglect. Covered with weeds and plants that are proving a health hazard for people in the locality, it also seems to attract garbage dumping and has turned into a public urinal, complains Ms Prema Reddy, a resident.
“We have to put up with the mosquitoes and rats that breed here besides the foul smelling garbage. We have tracked down the owner and passed on the contact details to the local corporator but nothing has been done. We have been bearing the brunt of our unhealthy surroundings and the cost of getting them cleaned,” she adds ruefully.
“If the owners don’t care to keep their vacant sites clean, why can’t the BBMP step in and clear them of garbage and unwanted weeds, collecting the cleaning charges from the site owners either in the form of a penalty or along with the property tax as was done earlier in some areas,?” she asks. A pertinent point. But is the BBMP listening?...