The irony of the dhobi ghat at Kumarswamy Layout is that neither the washermen nor the clothes hung on the clotheslines are safe. While the washermen are afraid of snakes, there is no guarantee for the clothes whatsoever, thanks to the thieves who have been roaming around the dhobi ghat without any fear.
Around 120 washermen families depend on this dhobi ghat for livelihood. Washermen from Jaragana halli, Kumaraswamy Layout, Konana Kunte, Elchenahalli, Padmanabha nagar, Gowdanapalya, ISRO Layout, Gollenayakanapalya, Tataguni and other areas come to this dhobi ghat for washing clothes. They have been using this dhobi ghat for the last forty years.
However, there is nothing to revel about the basic infrastructure at this particular dhobi ghat. The washermen have to depend on one open well for water to wash clothes. “With the water level touching rock bottom at this open well during summer, we have no option but to buy water from private water suppliers for washing clothes,’’ said P Nagaraj, vice-president, Kumaraswamy Layout Madivalara Sangha.
There is a provision for three families to stay at this dhobi ghat since it has only three sheds constructed by the washermen. The weeds and bushes on the premises have become a breeding place for mosquitoes and snakes. “There are occasions where washermen have to run for safety after encountering snakes while hanging the clothes on the clotheslines,’’ said a washerman.
The absence of a compound wall has made it easy for thieves to lay their hands on the clothes and get away without being caught. “The menace of thieves has become a headache for us. We have to pay penalty to laundry owners for the missing clothes. Many of us can’t afford to pay the penalty. Our earnings are barely enough to make ends meet,’’ said Nagaraj.
Thanking Corporator Srinivas for putting up two street lights at the dhobi ghat, Nagaraj has said that the BBMP authorities have forgotten to take up development works at this particular dhobi ghat. “Many BBMP authorities have visited this dhobi ghat and promised to take up development works but nothing has been done till today,’’ said a washerman.
Will the BBMP do something to mitigate washermen woes at Kumaraswamy Layout dhobi ghat? The washermen will have to wait and watch.