BENGALURU: Over the past decade, Soldevanahalli, Chimney Hills, Bagalkunte and other areas, once quiet villages on the way to Hessaraghatta, have seen massive development thanks to the sizeable number of educational institutions present in the area. With many of these institutions having a large foreign student population, the local residents initially witnessed a boom in the local economy but over the past few years, they have been complaining of safety issues. Several of these are a direct result of the increasing number of students, both foreign and domestic, studying in the area, they said.
Meghna Venkatesh, a 24-year-old former college student residing in Chikkabanavara says that with increasing number of students in the area, and the lack of streetlights or traffic police, the area is living in chaos with no proper law and order system in place. “I do not walk outside after 6pm as it gets too risky. There are people lurking in the corner who indulge in mobile-phone snatching. It is impossible to see them as well since there are no streetlights on Dr. Ambedkar road,” said a frustrated Venkatesh.
Venkatesh, is one among several other residents who share similar views on lack of civic facilities in the area. Mustafa K V, another resident, felt that theft in the area has increased. “We cannot carry anything valuable with us,”he said.
Augustin Despa, resident of Kirloskar layout, recalls an incident two years ago when he got mugged by two foreigners on a two-wheeler on Ambedkar road. “They were asking for money and my mobile phone but I did not have any cash on me so I was forced to give my phone away,” he said.
Residents state that the lack of streetlights helps people drive rashly and get away with the same on the empty roads at night. The area does not even have a traffic police station which is accessible
to the residents.
However, according to the local law and order police, incidents were at a minimum after a major case two years ago where some Nigerian students were caught in a drug case and had attacked police personnel while resisting arrest. “The control room had to deploy one platoon (27 police officers) to the spot. After that incident, the number of cases have reduced at the station. Residents complain about students not paying their rents. If the case gets serious, we register them under petty cases or try to sort the issue outside the station,” he said.
A senior traffic official commented that residents should take the matter to the concerned traffic commissioner of the area in case the situation was getting out of hand.