BANGALORE: Around 150 washermen families in Yelahanka are playing a double role—washermen and nomads—due to lack of a permanent dhobi ghat for them to wash clothes. It was said that the then Yelahanka Municipality had spent around `2 lakh to construct a wall and small water tanks for washing clothes on the side of Kere Kote Road more than a decade ago. Their joy knew no bounds when the civic body handed over the dhobi ghat to them. However, they had to find an alternative place to wash clothes when the wall collapsed due to sub-standard work done by the contractor and the authority.
For the last 10 years, the washermen are busy in approaching one or other politician to redress for their long-pending grievance. “We had submitted memorandums to political leaders such as C K Jaffer Sharif, Vishwanth and even corporators but no one has come forward to help us,’’ said a washerman on condition of anonymity.
As of now, the washermen have to depend on Jakkur and Kogilu Lakes for washing clothes. “Those who have vehicles can afford to carry clothes to such distant places, but it would be difficult for those who own neither two-wheelers nor other vehicles,’’ said Ravikumar, General Secretary, Kulaguru Madivalara Machideva Sangha.
Some of the washermen have converted vacant sites into dhobi ghats. They fetch water from borewells to wash clothes. “It depends on the generosity of the site owners. If they object, we have no other place to wash the clothes,’’ said Ravikumar.
It was said that MLA Vishwnath had assured the washermen to make a provision for a dhobi ghat at one of Yelahanka Lake after ongoing development work is completed. “We will be grateful to MLA Vishwanath if he makes a provision for dhobi ghat near the Anjaneya Temple,’’ Ravikumar said.
When City Express contacted K V Yashoda, Corporator, Chowdeswari Ward, he said that a proposal has been sent to the BBMP for the dhobi ghat. “Realising the problems faced by the washermen, I have already sent a proposal to the BBMP seeking `2 crore to establish a dhobi ghat. I will discuss the issue in the forthcoming BBMP council meeting also. I request the Mayor to provide funds in the next budget,’’ said Yashoda.
Will the BBMP come to the rescue of washermen and proposals return into reality? They washermen have to wait and watch.