BENGALURU: Located on the crucial pathway to Electronic City, the IT hub, BTM Layout in South Bengaluru has become a favourite residential hub for software professionals, who can travel easily to office via the elevated flyover and also enjoy the best of Bengaluru in the city’s heart.
But then, like others areas in the city, BTM is paying the price for rampant commercialisation with both noise and air pollution soaring beyond permissible levels, a fact vouched for by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). Add to that the monsoon havoc caused because of encroachments of lakes and drains, the perpetual traffic congestion and the burgeoning number of bars and pubs, and the locality has its cup of woes overflowing.
There is a silver lining on the horizon however and that is the incumbent Congress legislator and home minster Ramalinga Reddy who with his affable nature and accessibility, has won many hearts in the constituency. Residents admit that he is always there to give them a patient hearing.
But then civic problems cannot be wished away. Priyaranjan Singhania, an insurance company expert said, “The road opposite Madiwala Lake (Lake road) is riddled with potholes and stagnant water during the monsoon which makes us vulnerable to water-borne diseases. The BBMP workers do not even come here for regular spraying.”
Like every other part of the city, traffic congestion has increased in leaps and bounds in the past few years with Ejipura, BTM Layout and Koramangala wards witnessing long lines of vehicles during peak hours. White topping would have helped but it is still incomplete as it was taken up a few months before the polls causing more agony than before with residents dubbing it a poll gimmick.
“There are a lot of areas in this constituency which do not have streetlights. Near St John’s Road, most of the lanes have lights but they are not functioning. The MLA has certainly got a lot of lanes constructed but much more needs to be done,” said Mr Madhur Ahuja. He agreed that the BBMP wards like Tavarekere have improved in the past few years. ” he added.
With spiralling income levels and the impact of cosmopolitan culture, the number of pubs and bars has surged in Koramangala which has a large number of residential localities. Many residents are hoping that the winning candidate will ensure checks are put in place so that the serenity of residential areas is not disturbed.
A senior citizen in Koramangala, Mr Vikas Murthy, said he is disturbed over the rampant commercialisation which is contributing to noise pollution. “Senior citizens have a problem with the pub and bars coming up in residential areas. This not only leads to more incidents of crime but gives us sleepless nights. This should be curbed,” Mr Murthy added.
Worst of all was the last monsoon when Koramangala was virtually marooned because of the poorly planned drainage system and lake encroachments. “The drainage system here has gone from bad to worse. The clogged drains and footpaths are in the same state till today, Of all the wards, Koramangala needs an overhaul urgently,” said Mr Tushar.
‘Will win this time too, there is no doubt about it’
Q and A with Ramalinga Reddy, Congress Candidate
In most of the constituencies, the BJP is complaining about the rise in crime rate. What do you feel?
The NCRB data, prepared by the central government, clearly shows a jump in the crime rate during the tenure of the previous BJP government. The crime rate had peaked between 2008-2013 but we brought it down. These are the BJP’s manufactured lies, everyone in that party including PM Modi is a liar.
Residents have complained about the rise in pollution levels in BTM Layout and Koraman gala. Shouldn’t it have been brought under control?
The pubs and bars are mostly located on the roadside in Koramangala. The complaints that came to me were addressed. A few of these pubs which are in
residential areas are slowly vaca ting their premises after the court’s order. This will bring down noise pollution levels. I enjoy an excellent relationship with the Resident Welfare Associ ations (RWAs) and residents in my constituency. I have always been approachable.
An AAP candidate is gearing up to contest against you. Do you sense a threat from him?
AAP contests the election only for the sake of contesting. It is just a formality. Last time, when they contested, they got only 6,000 votes. I will win the election without any doubt.
Abbas: It’s going to be a David vs Goliath fight
Q and A with Syed Assad Abbas, AAP Candidate
You have been an IPL presenter as well as a TED speaker. How did the plunge into politics happen?
Being associated with the corporate industry, I wanted to extend a helping hand to youngsters who wanted a job. I have groomed a lot of them and have regularly visited schools and colleges. I thought that if as a common citizen, I can help those who need me. Politics is one way to take me closer to the masses.
You will be contesting against veteran, Ramalinga Reddy. Is it not going to be a tough fight?
It’s going to be a David vs Goliath fight but my door to door campaigning along with party volunteers, has impressed voters. Compared to the last election, we have mobilised voters better. Over 15,000 houses have been covered, our volunteers start the door-door campaign at 6 in the morning and continue till 10 in the night. We have no doubt connected with voters.
How well do you know the constituency and the issues plaguing residents?
Along with 21 voters, I cleaned Maestripalya lake which was choked with plastic waste. BTM Layout is facing traffic woes of the worst kind and is inevitably inundated during the monsoon with Koramangala and Ejipura the worst hit. The drains overflow and water enters residential premises. If elected, I will set up a grievance cell where the issues will be addressed within 24 hours. In view of the increase in crimes against women, a women’s protection cell will be established. We will ensure a scheme to enable senior citizens earn income and are also planning regular medical check-ups for them.