City Pulse


July 23, 2014 By Team ICMYC
Not all of us hide and seek. There are a few who would not abstain from putting up a good fight before they go down. Harogoppada Eswrappa, a resident of Rajaji Nagar, rides to Banaswadi and back daily, to work at a design consultancy. It was about six months ago that Eswarappa filed his first complaint, as he felt there is a need to send out a strong message about the deteriorating state to which Bangalore's been nose-diving in the past few years. Since then, he has approached the authorities with 50-odd complaints, unfortunately of which only a few have been resolved till date.
He's been tracking civic issues in Bangalore with such zest that once he blocked the Banaswadi main road in protest. Too much to do for the cause - some of us may exclaim. But, it is time that we thought this through again thoroughly.
Some months ago, Eswarappa had been passing through a stretch on the Banaswadi main road where he observed that the water pipeline had been leaking for almost 15-20 days into the road near the Indian Oil Corporation. Even after a period of two weeks no one had bothered to raise the issue or bring it to the notice of the authorities. Well, one fine day, Eswarappa decided to resolve the issue for good. But, he realised that needed to do something so gutsy that he could muster the attention of the public and the civic authorities at once. He parked his two-wheeler right in the middle of the road, and blocked the traffic until he got assurance from a traffic policeman that he would initiate the necessary action. Within an hour or two the problem was resolved.
Why then, a complaint takes months or perhaps years to be addressed. Are we not knocking the right doors in the right spirit? It seems we aren't. If there's a public outcry, perhaps your complaint would be resolved on priority. Hence, it is ideal to create a 'scene' in public if any issue needs immediate attention. The infamous Delhi rape being a case in point, perhaps, the public should adopt the same strategy even to the smallest of small civic issue. Mob mentality may not be the best option always, but for the regular maintenance of roads, proper waste management, uninterrupted water supply, hygienic sanitation, the only way out is an adamant will like that of H Eswrappa.
A look at the recent complaints posted on I Change My City by Eswarappa, it is quite clear that some radical change may occur, may be, in the years ahead. One of the complaint is about a wall-collapse that happened about an year ago. The retaining wall of the main drain, Vrushabhavathi nala - 80 feet in length - in Ginnepete, collapsed about an year ago. The BBMP is yet to address the issue. The drain is adjacent to St Miras school. There is frequent movement of kids and public. An accident cannot be ruled out. Also the storm water drain is not properly connected to the main drain and is blocked with debris.

Another complaint posted by Eswarappa exposes the miserable condition of the roads in Konena Agrahara. "This is the damaged road in front of the bus stop and opposite to Manipal hospital. People cannot stand near the bus stop because of the potholes, mud and water", says Eashwarappa. In MG road - according to Eswarappa's complaint - water and mud are accumulating due to the irresponsible dumping of construction debris. MG Road is one of the busiest, and is frequented by many expatriates. But our people are not interested in cleaning this road. Our big people talking big, doing less…".

Most of us armchair rebels, who are so keen to give lectures in good company - on the rot that has affected urban life in Bangalore - would wag our tails in subservience when a practical scenario arises. Why? Because we are too busy with other stuff? No. We are too lazy or we are cowards who prefer our comfort zones that have been tightening their grip over time. It comes as no surprise. It is one of the facts in the post-globalised world. The parallel lives that we lead would spawn an extremely irresponsible and apolitical society that may collapse on itself in no time.
Perhaps, implementing a West-inspired infrastructure framework in our cities - which again in some cases are just overgrown villages - has its own natural consequences. This is one of the major dilemmas which urban India has to weed out at the earliest. Where are our social scientists?