Bengaluru: Over 1,200 resident welfare associations (RWAs) in the city came together on Saturday to articulate their views on the pressing issues concerning the city. The meeting, organised by the United Bengaluru, is probably biggest such gathering to design the citizens’ agenda to reclaim and protect Bengaluru.
To ensure that the authorities acted on the issues discussed, citizens and members of RWAs engaged with Members of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar and P.C. Mohan and MLA Ashwathanarayana. However, Deputy Chief Minister Dr G. Parameshwar, MLAs Ramalinga Reddy and Sowmya Reddy and officials were absent despite confirming their attendance.
The meeting was organised to deliberate on rampant commercialisation of residential areas, improper solid waste management, non-sustainable models and infringement of rights of home buyers by improper implementation of RERA Act.
Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy said, “Citizens are being exploited by the government in the name of development, but there is nothing happening on the ground. The rich and powerful are getting all the facilities, while the poor continue to suffer. If more people join hands, our fight to protect and reclaim our city will get stronger.”
Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that transparency and enforcement of structural reforms are needed to govern zoning laws. “Citizens should question as to why the city corporation collects only Rs 9,000 crore, when it can get much higher revenues. Why is there no audit to show how this money was spent? Where is it going? Has it been spent on an illegal skywalk," he asked.
Bengaluru is spread across 741sqkm and there were about 1,100 water bodies in the 1800s. The night temperature used to be 14-15 degrees Celsius during May and as low as zero degrees Celsius during December. Lead scientist (IISc) Dr T.V. Ramachandra said, “Today, there are only 193 water bodies left and they have become hotspots for builders. The city has 1.5 million trees for a population of 9.5 million. 75% of Bengaluru is covered with concrete structures and by 2025, it will go up to 98%. It is high time that the city is decongested and authorities worked towards moving industries to other parts of the state. Otherwise, the city will disappear from the map.”
Mr Ram Prasad, a solid waste management expert, said that though the city is technologically advanced, when it comes to garbage management, it is way behind some of the tier-2 and tier-3 cities. "In just four years, Bengaluru has dropped to 215th place from 38th in the Swachh Bharat ranking. This is a shame.”
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