NELAMANGALA: With just a few days left for the state Assembly election, residents of Nelamangala are not yet sure whom to vote for. This is not because all candidates are just as good, it is simply because all parties have largely ignored the area keeping campaigning a very low-key affair. The New Indian Express visited Nelamangala and surrounding areas on Sunday (April 22) afternoon to see a neglected area permeating with the stink of open drainage. Several parts of the constituency also have a severe dust problem. “People do not come out of their houses during daytime as they cannot bear the smell or tolerate the dust. Along with this, the problem of bad roads has made our life hell,” says a resident.
Thammanagowda C H, an auto driver, says, “We locals have to put up with traffic jams on main roads if leaders of political parties come for campaign. Ironically, these jams are because those part of the rally are outsiders and not people from the area who have come to support the leaders. No one from the locality comes out as civic problems have been left unsolved for many years.” The open drains lead to several other problems as well.
For Lakshmidevi S G and her grandson Nataraj G V, both flower vendors, the issue of mosquitoes is the major problem. “Why don’t the leaders build a proper underground drainage system. They know the locality is infested with mosquitoes and people are often down with dengue and other diseases,” she says, adding, “We are living like insects here. The area is not fit for human dwelling.”
An utter lack of interest by the elected representatives has led to people choosing not to vote at all. Satish Kumar G B, a civil contractor says, “Neither the sitting MLA nor corporators of town panchayat did anything for development in the last five years. Locals are thus obviously not interested in casting their votes for anyone. The Congress has announced its ticket for R Narayanaswamy, but the strange thing is no one knows him.”
Speaking of commuting woes in the area, Bharathi Basavanahalli, a street vendor, says, “There is no connectivity to the railway station from Nelamangala bus stop. It is a distance of more than 2 km and sometimes auto drivers refuse to take us unless we pay more. People struggle to commute to surrounding districts even though there are a couple of passenger trains.”