BANGALORE: The dhobi ghat in Malleswaram is considered to be the biggest among dhobi ghats in Bangalore. It has the privilege of being the first modernised dhobi ghat not only within the city but also in the state.
Around 400 washermen families depend on this dhobi ghat for their livelihood. Their joy knew no bounds when MLA Dr C N Ashwath Narayan convinced the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to construct an automatic mechanised dhobi ghat at an investment of Rs 2.25 crore. The then Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had inaugurated it on December 19, 2009.
The automatic mechanised dhobi ghat has five washing machines, four hydro extractors, seven driers, one boiler and two calendar ironing machines among other things. “Each washing machine has the capacity to wash 400 clothes in 20 minutes and each drier has the capacity to dry 100 bed sheets in 20 minutes,’’ said C Raju, secretary, New Dhobi Ghat Washermen Association.
The washermen are extremely happy with the modern facilities present here. They express their gratitude to MLA Dr C N Ashwath Narayan and Corporator Manjunatha Raju for their help and support so far.
However, they find it difficult to pay the exorbitant electricity bill that touches Rs 40,000 per month. “The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company has been collecting power tariff from us on commercial basis. It would help us if BESCOM gives us a rebate on the electricity bill. The increase in the cost of chemicals such as soda, bleaching powder, detergent and detergent powder is also a cause of concern for us. We request the BBMP to supply the chemicals at subsidised rates,’’ requests Puttarangaiah, general secretary, Old and New Dhobi Ghat Washermen Association.
The BBMP has proposed to dig a borewell to ensure sufficient water throughout the year at the dhobi ghat. However, it is yet to become a reality. “There is a shortage of water in summer and we have no option but to buy water from private water suppliers,’’ says Raju.
Washermen from Malleswaram, Vijayanagar, Shivajinagar and other areas use this dhobi ghat. More than 100 washermen have to wash clothes manually since the automatic mechanised dhobi ghat is not sufficient to cater to the needs of all washermen.
“We have requested the BBMP to add more washing machines and driers so that it can benefit all washermen who come here. We expect the BBMP authorities to consider our demands,’’ said Raju. The washermen also demand that the civic agencies should construct houses for them on dhobi ghat premises.
Meanwhile, MLA Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said that there was a proposal to add more washing machines. “As far as the construction of houses for washermen is concerned, the Slum Clearance Board has floated tenders and the construction work will be begin shortly,’’ said Ashwath Narayan.