BENGALURU: Nothing worries the residents of Shivajinagar Assembly constituency as much as their locality’s cleanliness.
Among the most densely populated areas in the city, Shivajinagar has seven wards, and has a significant population of Muslims and Tamils. The areas is so overcrowded and short of space that some wards have registered a negative population growth.
Except parts of Halsur and Vasanthnagar wards, most of the localities are ill-kept, with residents facing diseases and infections due to unhygienic environment.
Krishnamurthy, a vendor in Sampangiramanagar, said lack of cleanliness has continued to affect the health of residents. Pointing to his assistant, he complained that the boy was hospitalised with dengue for 15 days.
“He comes from a very poor family and has to work 12-14 hours a day. If he falls ill and spends days in a hospital, who is going to provide for him or his dependents?” he asked. “Authorities and elected representatives have scant concern for us and we continue to face innumerable problems without making a fuss about it,” he said.
In Bharathinagar, overflowing sewage on Sepping’s Road has forced some people to abandon their commercial establishments. Sewage enters shops in low-lying areas. Though some residents too face the same problem, they put up with it as they cannot abandon their homes.
“The problem becomes so severe during rains that locals decided to spend money themselves and repair the UGD line. We pooled in funds so that we could breathe easy rather than suffer the stench,” said Syed Ismail, a resident.
Waste generated from both residential and commercial areas are dumped along roadsides as door-to-door segregation of waste is not being followed.
Hashim, a resident of Shivajinagar, complains that corporators are concerned about developing only the ‘posh localities’. “Who is concerned about the poor? Our children and women suffer from various ailments due to these problems. Nobody listens to our complaints,” he said.
Even though playgrounds exist in the records, they are either reduced to dump yards for construction waste or are overgrown with weeds. Children find it hard to find a place to play after school.
However, some residents feel that they too are at fault for the sorry state. “If everyone dumps waste on the streets, we cannot blame the authorities. We throw away plastic in drains, which clogs them, resulting in overflow of sewage water. We too have to take responsibility,” said Mahaveerchand, a shopkeeper in Shivajinagar.
AIMIM Making Poll Interesting
Shivajinagar has traditionally been a Congress bastion owing to the concentration of minorities, Tamils, Dalits and working class. In 2010, the party won four out of seven wards.
This time too, the party is confident and is counting big on anti-incumbency, consolidation of party’s vote-bank through the Siddaramaiah government’s welfare schemes.
In most wards, Congress and BJP are in a direct fight. JD(S) has fielded Muslim candidates in four constituencies. The entry of All India Majlis E Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) into the poll battle has made the otherwise dull contest between Congress and BJP interesting. Congress is worried as it fears AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s aggressive and provocative speeches might appeal to some Muslim voters, particularly youth. The BJP on the other hand is smiling as it sees a chance of improving its tally with Congress, AIMIM and the JD(S) fighting for minority votes.
ward by ward: the major party candidates and the problems voters think their representative needs to address