City Pulse


June 10, 2014 By Team ICMYC
A comfortable easy chair to recline, with hands clutching a  newspaper and a searing cup of coffee beside waiting to be sipped; this is the perfect post-retirement image that one would wish for. It is that phasein life when one wonders what next, wanting to experiment and explore themselves to the fullest. Anand Sirur, an admired citizen in Malleshwaram questioned the same a few years after his retirement.
Anand Sirur feels proud to be a part of a meaningful retired life. After having served for an American oil company, he like most of friends, spent leisure-time playing golf along with his old buddies. Although enthusiastic about civic issues in the city, Anand was not involved with any platform that was working on such issues. It was only when he came across Malleshwaram Swabhimana Initiative six years back that he could voice out his suggestions and concerns about his locality. Currently, the president of Mallesharam Swabbhimana Initiative, Sirur is an active citizen in Malleshwaram.
Long-known to be a serene residential area, Malleshwaram has now turned into a nightmare for people who reside here. One of the oldest residential areas in the city, Malleshwaram has seen a major transformation over a span of few years. The lush green foliage that canopied tranquil lanes of Malleshwaram has now been replaced with the clamour and clatter of vehicles. Adding to the woes of residents are the garbage disposal issues along with infuriating traffic that is making their way into peaceful residential lanes.
Anand Sirur, a resident of Malleshwaram for the past 42 years, feels that his locality is slowly degenerating amidst these problems. Residents of Malleshwaram simply look forward to a better area than hoping for the redeemed charm. Anand Sirur is one among them who has wished likewise and says “When I joined MSI, I thought it could be an effective platform to bring change that I wanted to”.
He was first drawn to a common issue faced in cities, the problem of congestion, space and insensitivity faced by elderly on roads.  He noticed these 12 years back. Before he could suggest a solution of making pedestrian-zones for senior citizens, the process got scuttled by few authorities in power.
The magnanimity of the problems have increased over the years affecting the lifestyle of many is what Sirur says. Traffic being the biggest issue has been a cause of concern to many as pedestrians can’t walk on roads. Neither skywalk nor an underpass can be a solution is what Sirur believes. “The entire purpose gets defeated as old people and disabled individuals cannot climb nor get down the stairs.”
An association of 200 members led by Anand has contributed in a lot of ways to the residents of Malleshwaram. Issues with regard to garbage management, traffic, footpath and others have been actively worked upon.
The biggest challenge was the resistance from all corners to run the initiative. Despite the challenge, Sirur and his team has managed to resolve many issues bothering Malleshwaram. One such issue is the Sankey road widening plan that was dropped under the pressure of MSI. The area also manages effective garbage disposal techniques initiated by MSI members.
Taking the lead, Sirur has managed to set an example for many in the area. But what he stresses is people’s participation to make this initiative more effective and beneficial. He says that “Citizens should make an effort to understand the problems that crop up over a period of time. Each one should know what is affecting their well-being.” Envisioning a better Malleshwaram to live in, Sirur calls for more support and responsibility on the part of citizens.