An open letter
The Honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka
Shri K. Siddaramaiah
At the outset, we would like to congratulate ourselves on your behalf as a citizen group par excellence. We are proud of the impact our members have had and hope that you have acknowledged it too. As volunteers who don’t accept a rupee, we have
- Cleaned up garbage through innumerable spot fixes across Whitefield
- Spread the mantra of waste segregation across communities to help ease the task of garbage management
- Pleaded for and then monitored the fixing of potholes even during late nights
- Signed up as Traffic Wardens and trained ourselves to direct Traffic
- Built our own app to keep us safe
- Engaged with your design team to avoid silly mistakes in road making
- Encountered government agencies that don’t work in co-ordination and mediated with them to stop the laying-digging
laying cycle where no one intervened
- Connected the agencies once again to raise and help solve the problem of toxic lakes while offering up the best of breed designs to rejuvenate our lakes
- Been model citizens working with your agencies to implement their plans on the ground
- Planted numerous trees across the community
- Taught many of our school kids in government schools where resources are severely stretched. In fact, we brought a dilapidated school back to life
- Empowered many of our women by offering opportunities to earn an income
- Trained dropouts with an uncertain future, imparting them vocational skills that have enabled them to secure employment
14.Encouraged voting across all wards and helped many residents get registered to vote
15.Brought companies on board to sign Public-Private partnerships
But we owe an update to the people on our efforts at improving infrastructure. And while we continue to press forward with energy, the horizon looks bleak. In spite of continued engagement with our political representatives across the political spectrum, we feel that we remain at the “outskirts” in all your planning. It is extremely disheartening as we do not see any vision for developing Mahadevpura. Here is what we struggle with:
- In the distant future Metro MAY come. Even just to leverage existing railway tracks and push for a suburban rail is an uphill battle that citizens are waging. Shouldn’t it be the other way around with the government proposing and providing mechanisms for its citizens to travel smoothly across the city?
- The coffers for any improvement are always empty. We must now source our own traffic signals by going to corporates with a begging bowl. There is zero correlation between property tax collected and what is ploughed back for development
- The “Signal Free Corridor” is to “come” for years now. As an example, a component i.e. the Kundanahalli Underpass was imminent. Apparently, it is now stuck in “land acquisition” problems in court. Why are these problems not addressed before announcements are made and hopes raised? What exactly is being done to solve this stalemate and alleviate traffic pressures at this junction?
- With a lot of citizen involvement and pleading you allocated funds under Nagarotthana for some road development in our area. Yet the execution is painfully slow with the contractor claiming non-payment.
- The world-famous Varthur Lake remains frothing, foaming and stinking as it was. We brought attention to it, the Environment Minister demanded a report. You visited and demanded action. Yet, months go by and there is no plan. Who can make the journey from the current problem to your desired end-state? And how?
We have learnt the hard way, and would like the citizens to know that all they can do (or must do henceforth) is focus on that which is within their control. Expecting a vision and execution from state agencies is like moving a mountain. We must dig through it or manoeuvre around it (and some stalwart citizens have managed to cause a rumble).
We have no way to assure them of Government execution of projects they hope to see coming to fruition. We sincerely hope we are proved very wrong.