BENGALURU: An ongoing survey on the status of wards by Environment Support Group, an NGO, along with a team of students, researchers and citizens, found that higher-income neighbourhoods were better developed that poorer wards or areas in a ward.
The survey, funded by Azim Premji University, covered 42 wards and their current status was presented at a public meeting on Wednesday. The survey, which includes 39 sections and 169 questions, includes a qualitative aspect, with surveyors choosing five spots in a ward and carrying out a personal assessment of the road and footpath.
Abhijina Bellur, one of the researchers who conducted the survey said, “Richer neighbourhoods or wards enjoyed better roads, footpaths and transport connectivity. For instance, in a low-income area such as Neelasandra, the entire ward has only one bus stop. The peri-urban areas on the outskirts suffer shortage of water, as compared to core areas of the city.”
“Most of the wards had poor fire safety, with fire hydrants missing or areas not accessible for a fire engine. Street vendors were not given vending zones in most wards and were forced to occupy pavements, which resulted in them often getting evicted by the authorities,” she added.
“Sanitation and solid waste management, such as segregation at source and collection of waste, was better in richer areas of the city than in slums. When it came to parks, even while most wards had parks, they were either inaccessible by the differently abled, senior citizens and children or were open for only certain times in the day,” said Sahana Subramanian, another researcher.
While most wards have government and private schools, the government schools were found to be poorly staffed or had poor quality mid-day meals. Tracking ward committee meetings was also an aspect of
Sahana said, “We faced instances where officials promised to hold a ward committee meeting at a certain time and date but when we reached there, they would say it was postponed for various reasons.”
The survey, which was a combination of entering information into Google forms and on ground work, will be compiled and analysed, and a final report will be submitted by October 10 to the university. “The aim of the survey is to be able to have evidence and information for citizens, who can use it to raise concerns during ward committee meetings.
All images have to be time-stamped and routes of the survey geo-tagged so that authorities cannot dismiss civic issues being raised by residents,” said Leo Saldanha, coordinator of ESG.