BANGALURU :Malleswaram is one of the oldest areas in the city, once home to Nobel Laureate CV Raman.
Residents here are also known to actively initiate several civic interventions.
The oldest citizen group here is Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative (MSI), founded in early ninetines by a group of eleven. Today it has around 200 members.
It is a non-political organization but has worked to improve the voters turnout during the elections. “We used to go to each flat and encourage residents to vote. Some were staying away from the polls because they did not want to wait in long queues. So, we would go to the booth and inform them when they could expect fewer crowds so that they can go and vote during those hours. Generally this be would be around noon. Gradually, the count has increased,” says Sumathi Rao, President, MSI.
They have actively engaged with the civic agencies, like participating in the budgetary exercise of the BBMP in 2003 and suggesting issues that need to be resolved on priority, like the footpath and relaying of roads.
The elevated road over the underpass at Malleswaram circle was suggested by the association. The MSI realised that the design approved by the government won’t be able to tackle the traffic coming in from the other roads. So, they did a private consultation of engineers and architects and came up with their own design.
“The government realised that our design was better than theirs,” says Sumathi.
The association has pioneered green drives like eco-fairs and cycling days for school children. Even people above 80 years are now peddling enthusiastically, says Sumathi. Some have become regular cyclists to run their daily errands.
MSI has helped individual residents. Most houses here have gardens and thanks to the association, they have access to good manure.
“An elderly couple has improved their gardens. The garden wastes do not go out of their house. They process it for manure,” she says.
A chat vendor had occupied the footpath in front of a retired army official’s apartment. He complained and the vendor had left, only to return in a month.
He raised the issue with the MSI and they had the traffic police evict the stall owner.
Regular review meetings are held where an official is invited to find solutions.
Proper disposal of temple waste. They have requested the civic authorities to arrange a small truck for collecting it.
A piece of land, belonging to the railways, on the 11th Main Road is being used as a dump by the public.
The MSI has sent a letter to the Railway ADRM and is waiting for permission to convert it into a garden.
What more is needed
People who have borewells and have installed rainwater harvesting should be given concessions.
Strict ban on plastics below 40 micron.
officials all bark, no bite
While the Swabhimana initiative says that the authorities are cooperative, the Malleswaram Resident Welfare Association find them apathetic. They were registered in 2010.
They say that they have suggested several ideas to combat the air and noise pollution and also the traffic near the Mantri Square. “Our plan for decongesting the traffic near Mantri has been appreciated by the authorities but never been implemented,” says B R Gopal Rao, President, MRWA and M A Sundar, Advisory Committee member of MRWA.
The RWA has had their share of successes– laying new pipelines with the help of MLA Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, shifting the bus stand to a safer stretch near Malleswaram market and saving a park, when the BBMP was planning to convert it into a parking lot.
Concerns of MRWA
Encroachment of footpaths.
Residents using their properties for businesses.