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International Journal of Exclusive Global Research - Vol 2 Issue 11 November

Has Bengaluru City Still Remain as a Garden City


TazyeenAfshaan
Assistant Prof. of English, Sarjapur, Bengaluru
Abstract
Swami Vivekananda said ―Wake Up, Do Not Stop, Until You Achieve the Goal‖.
Tailored around us, is the comprehensive issue of living peacefully, happily and most
importantly healthy. ―Every member of the family is the centre of the universe, the reason
behind an entire family‘s laughter, joyand the key to that is your health‖. ―I am living in a
place with lots of greenery, lakes, trees, birds etc.. An ideal location, lot of openness and
healthy way to life. Adding to that fishing at the lakes, variety of plantations, organic farming,
bird watching, bbreathless sceneries, stargazing, bbarbeque pits, bbonfires by the lake side
etc….– Wow !! The pleasantness of one of these kinds you can call home. All in all the serenity
of living in the lap of nature without the usual interruptions makes life‘s each moment to
cherish‖.
Thud!!I tumble from my bed. Gracious God I was dreaming.Suddenly rubbing my back
and howling in torment. I open my eyes feeling extreme heat due to increase in air pollution,
high amounts of particular matter in the air and smog which has engulfed the city for days
together .vehicular movements causing congestion, poisonous gas and inhaling dangerous
smoke. Rightly said, I woke up in a city called Bengaluru... The most beautiful city in the
world, a city quite different from the other cities, always heard nice things about this city,
must see Spots like Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. The charming whether – charmed to no end.
But now, everyone knows where the city is lacking. The most common complaints are
irregular door to door waste collection, clogged storm water drains, unswept roads, and the
lack of an efficient grievance redressal system. The roads are spick and span just before
elections, but otherwise they are in a horrible condition.
 Another concern about the return of plastic. When the ban came into effect a couple of
years ago, Vendors in most of the areas were careful not to use plastic bags, but now no one
seems to care now, waste collection is a constant worry.
 The door-to-door collection does not happen in time.
 Sometimes the workers do not turn up at all, this leads to people dumping waste on empty
sites and creating piles of waste at street corners.
 The dug up roads causing problems for predestines blogged construction debris occupying
most of the footpaths.
 Trash is a bigger problem and people urinating on walls and streets.
Customised around us, is the comprehensive issue of living calmly, peacefully, happily
and most importantly-Healthy!. We can achieve these when there is a place with lots of
greenery, lakes, trees, birds - an ideal location, lot of openness and a healthy way to life.
Adding to that, fishing at the lakes, variety of plantations, organic farming, bird watching,
breath less sceneries, star gazing, barbeque pits, bonfires by the lakeside etc. The charm of
one of these sorts, you can call Home.
All in all, the serenity of living in the lap of nature without the usual interruptions
makes life‘s each moment to cherish. I live in a city called Bengaluru. The most beautiful city
in the world, a city quite different from the other cities, always heard nice things about this
city, must see spots like Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. The charming weather- charmed to no
end. ―It is so beautiful it‘s unnatural‖. But now everyone knows where the city is lacking. With
rapid urbanization we are losing touch with nature being tactlessly detached from nature. Our
connection with family, friends and people in general is disintegrating, leave alone in their love
for pets and animals. If our children want to go out and play amidst nature, there isn‘t enough
space or natural surroundings for them due to uncontrolled concretisation of all available
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International Journal of Exclusive Global Research - Vol 2 Issue 11 November

spaces in urban areas. Concerned parents are forced to take them out to some rural areas
where nature abounds and there is smell of soil, fresh air and greenery. Under the New
Swachh Bharat Mission system, cities are ranked like star hotels, by the number of stars they
get. Citizens are wondering how the new system will work when it comes to our own city
Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, where there was another news report that some ministers from Karnataka
have submitted proposal to the Prime Minister‘s office to make Bengaluru the country‘s
second capital on the ground that it was safe from natural calamities and attacks from
external forces and would ―help in deeper integration of South India‖ - A rational proposal, but
it does not say how the government has augmented the infrastructure of the city in terms of
roads, power, solid waste disposal of water ,traffic, public transport, security of women etc
These are the issues that need to be evaluated when deciding which city is the
‗citizenfriendly‘. Is it really so simple? The whole city of Bengaluru is held ransom by the
bickering agencies, with the govt looking on helplessly. It speaks volumes of how we govern
our country and how cheaply we treat the lives of our citizens. The most complaints are
irregular door to door waste collection, clogged storm water drains, unswept roads, and the
lack of an inefficient Grievance Redressal System. The roads are spick and span just before
elections, but otherwise are strewn with dry leaves. Another concern is the return of plastic.
When the ban came into effect a couple of years ago vendors in the areas were careful not to
use plastic bags, but no one seems to care now, waste collection is a constant worry, the door-
to-door collection does not happen in time. Sometimes the workers don‘t turn up at all, this
leads to people dumping waste on empty sites and creating piles of waste at street corners.
Waste storage bins are not around, waste segregation is not practised. Dumping waste on
empty sites needs to stop; spot fines could help control the situation. Irregular maintenance of
storm water drains is another concern. People regularly dump waste into drains, regular
awareness campaigns and a tighter rating system is the need of the day.
After coming under Massive criticism from all quarters for the pothole-ridden streets in
the city the government through the civic body, had called for the white topping of all Major
streets, before the impending assembly elections of 53 km of 29 roads selected for white
topping in two sets, the BBMP could complete only 9 km of the important routes. Not just the
public, but even the local politicians are up in arms over the snail paced white topping work.
Just to cover a 500m stretch it took three months, this is how work is being done. The Palike
should ensure the work is completed at the earliest. Development projects such as road
widening and white topping have brought Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike a lot of
criticism. After facing opposition over widening of the roads the Palike is now receiving a lot of
flak from land owners considering the pace at which the BBMP is carrying out the white
topping of major roads in the city. Leading to daily traffic bottlenecks, the traffic police have
made it clear that they will not hand over any more roads unless the ongoing work is finished.
This has put the BBMP in a tight spot because it was aiming to complete the entire project
before any poll related restrictions could be evoked in the coming months.
Commuters may complain about the white topping work, but the government is likely
to invest more on such roads, including a special allocation for it, in the state budget. At a
high level meeting with officials of the BBMP and Urban Development Department, City
development minister K.J. George discussed new schemes worth Rs.3602 crore that can be
taken up by BBMP. Top of the chart was Rs 1000 crore allocation for white-topping of 150
kms of road. The meeting also discussed the need for allocating Rs.200 crore for lake
development, Rs.400 crore for grade separators, Rs.672 crore for storm water drains and rain
damage, and Rs.200 crore for six multi-storey cars parking in various places. Two months
after it began, white-topping work on six stretched road spanning about 35kms claims to have
completed work on only 13.52km of roads.
Under the first phase of the Rs.23.71 crore projects the Palike had taken up white-
topping along outer ring road(Hennur road to KR Puram) Tumakuru road, west of chord road
Koramangala 20th main, Mysuru road and Hosur road. Since parts of these roads were
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International Journal of Exclusive Global Research - Vol 2 Issue 11 November

cordoned off, citizens complained of heavy traffic, forcing BBMP to temporarily suspend work
last month.
Lo! Crores of rupees sanctioned in the name of road development but the work stopped
completely leading to a Gridlocked Bengaluru.
Vehicular Overload; No Escape
Trapped for hours in peak hour traffic at junction after junction, every motorist could
ponder over this disturbing data:Its road infrastructure severely stretched, the city now has to
contend with a mind-boggling 72.58 lakh vehicles registered at its 12 Regional Transport
Offices(RTO).This number, updated till 2017 end, should have risen again this year.
Effectively, the city population of 1.02 crore has a vehicle to people ratio of 1:1.4. So how does
a road infrastructure that cannot handle traffic beyond 10 lakh vehicles cope up with this
ceaseless flood?
Commuting- a daily nightmare and a challenge! Bengaluru second only to Delhi,
Bengaluru city has the second highest number of vehicles in the country. The increase has
been so rapid that the number more than doubled in the last decade. Two-wheelers dominate
the roads, followed by cars. Bengaluru‘s roads are bursting at the seams with thousands of
vehicles added to the streets every single day.
Residents are fed up with sewage overflowing; the already damaged roads are worsening
the situation. Despite repeated complaints, authority‘s do not take any action, proper drains
and roads are far away dreams. The authorities dug up the tarred roads leave untouched for
several weeks without fixing, causing unnecessary traffic chaos along the busy stretches.
For citizens, commuting has become a daily nightmare and a challenge to avoid
accidents as everyone tries to move ahead of the other. With the increased congestion and ever
increasing travel time, the commuters‘ patience is wearing thin day by day. The biggest
disadvantage is the time taken to negotiate the traffic. People end up spending three to four
hours every day in traffic and that is a huge loss of time. The slow moving traffic only adds to
your stress levels and affects your health in the long run, especially after a long day at work.
If you are awake for 16 hours, one fourth of the time is spent on the road on a regular work
day. Travel time is now much more than 5-10 years back. Traffic jams these days are a norm
through the day. Earlier we used to walk more. But now, the condition of footpaths is terrible.
No one gives way to anyone anymore and everyone is in a hurry all the time.
However, the constant exposure to dust and air pollution affects our health badly. As a
pedestrian it is quite a challenge as there are all sorts of obstructions in the way. Vehicles
routinely mount the footpath and we are forced to dodge them. Besides, the footpath is used
as a parking area and we are forced to walk on the road. It is very hard to navigate the traffic
with the vehicle at night and scary at times, people don‘t give any space and keep shifting
lanes in a rash manner.
Besides road works constrict the flow of traffic and the materials used for the works eat
up space. It seems to us that the traffic jams never end, no matter what time of the day it is.
There are just too many vehicles and people.
BBMP turning Bengaluru into dirtiest city – says High Court
The High Court pulled up the BBMP saying its ‗reverse movement‘ is turning Bengaluru
into the dirtiest city. Observing that it is deeply pained by the Palike‘s ‗lethargic attitude‘ and
gross indifference towards a series of directions it had passed in November last year over solid
waste management and ward committees, the court imposed Rs 50,000 cost on the civic
agency for non-compliance. The court directed the BBMP commissioner to initiate action
against erring officials and even elected representatives who are part of the ward committees.
People who are fighting hard to save the city received another shocker. The Karnataka
government quietly introduced an amendment to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act of 1976.
The amendment was tabled in the assembly and lists over 50 species of the trees that will not
henceforth require any permission to be chopped down.
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International Journal of Exclusive Global Research - Vol 2 Issue 11 November

THE amendment introduced earlier this month, exempted permission for axing around
50 species of trees. This had raised concern among environmentalists and civic groups, which
featured the move was a threat to tree cover in the city. With the proposed amendment to the
Karnataka Tree Preservation Act of 1976 inviting strident opposition from green activists, the
Karnataka government in February 21st withdrew the bill—Victory for Bengalureans. Ever
since it piloted the bill on February 12, in the Legislative Assembly, Bengalureans had
campaigning non-stop against it. The government had received a lot of criticism for proposing
the amendment that would make it easy for authorities to cut down trees in the city. Law and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra expressed that the amendment would
perhaps lead to a lot of illegal tree cutting across the state. ―Only after tabling the bill did the
government realise that people may misuse the amendment and resort to mindless cutting of
trees. This would not only cause greater damage to the already worsening environment but
also reduce the forest cover of the state.
Hence, the government decided to withdraw the proposed amendments to the act‖.
Environmental Activists had started an online petition against the proposed amendments. The
petition saw support from more than 25,000 people in a span of couple of days. It is definitely
a win for the entire state. It showed that people are still for green development. This is
surprising indeed. But this kind of constant change is very much the need of the hour, and
unless the people stand up, there will not be such change in society. All of us must use the
same energy to run forward for city‘s issues. There is no doubt that we would be so much
better if we do so. We are indeed happy that the government eventually listened to its people
and this is the beauty of a democracy.
Citizen power has once again shone through. The city has stood up for its trees and
opposed this amendment tooth and nail. The battle is however not yet over. The government
has withdrawn the amendment without too much fuss because it‘s an election year. As
citizens we must be prepared to fight against any surreptitious amendments like these, it is
time for the citizenry to make their demands known and fight back against such steps which
put our trees, lives and health at risk.
We don‘t want the Garden city, IT city and the Citizen friendly city to become known as
Garbage city, Drug city, Lakes burning city and Tree fallen city!.
Conclusion
A change in the proportion of walkers and motorists will make a big difference on the
traffic situation in the city. If people consciously cut down on the use of their personal vehicles
and walk whenever they can to small distances, it will benefit everyone. Roads are too narrow
in the city and they need to be widened to manage traffic and congestion. The good news at
present is The Clean Bengaluru Campaign which began on February 24th and will go on till
March 4th. The BBMP is engaged in its cleaning up campaign – the idea is solid waste
management, removed debris and garbage that has been lying around the city for long time, to
beautify the junction, to beautify underpasses and flyovers, to remove posters, banners and
buntings, and to clean garbage from parks, playgrounds, lake surroundings, storm water
drains and other public areas spanning over 1000 kms. Public participation is the most
important thing in any public programme as it is meant for the people.―Despite being a
beautiful city in terms of its people and character, we have a long way to go to make it a pretty
place to live in.‖

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