Bangalore! I prefer to call it that way… Bengaluru doesn’t sound uru types at all… It’s so halli types..!
My city.. The best place to be! Though I love it, it’s not like i’m obsessed with it. Mumbai follows immediately. I have been to Mumbai twice and loved every aspect of it. The vada pav, cutting chai, the ever joshilay and mast junta, their pace of life, the hospitality of people and their ability to make you feel at home(something I craved for in our rajdhani Dilli.. no offence intended…), the hustle bustle and of course, the local trains! Apart from that, it is home to most of my favorite musical maestros and the city I will be in if I take up singing as a full time profession sometime…
I sometimes tend to deviate from the point. So coming back to Bangalore, my focus today is one particular place called Tank Bund Road… The locality that lies parallel to the railway tracks that lead to Kengeri. To be more precise, the binny mill road. I don’t know why i’m being so particular in making sure you know which place this is. May be I believe that some day, someone who can really do something about the issue i’m going to talk about will read my blog and take an action…
This place is a mess and one of the oldest slums of the city. I have travelled to Mysore many times by train and every time I see the plight of people and their houses in this locality, it makes me wonder how they survive in such deplorable conditions. What is more miserable is that there are no sanitation facilities here. Toilets neither have doors nor water supply. There seems to be nobody who takes up responsibility to maintain the existing ones. It’s sad that women have to wake up before sunrise to answer the nature’s call. The old have no shelter even in the rain. The contaminated air and water leaves several children weak and sick. Infact, there have been many deaths on the tracks when people have gone out to answer the nature’s call. The place is such an unpleasant sight.
A little more probing, and I got to know that political leaders promise health care facilities, sanitation and a lot more to the residents of this area and don’t turn up post elections… They forget all they promises irrespective of whether they win or lose! As far as the community welfare meetings are concerned, they often are either exchange of blows or words. Some residents say that they feel like they are living in hell.
Rajiv Gandhi’s drinking water mission was an outstanding scheme. But the number of toilets to be built as per the project was limited. However, a nation wide survey conducted during 96-97 has revealed that even poorest of the poor are willing to participate in the implementation of such programmes, and to contribute towards operation & maintenance and part of the capital cost provided, reliable service is given and maintained. I strongly oppose the Indian Government’s policy that denies any kind of facilities to unauthorized localities. India is a very large country with even larger problems and I suggest atleast temporary arrangements be done even in unauthorized localities like the Tank Bund road slum.
Dr. Bhindeshwar Pathak’s sulabh shauchalay scheme has been successful all over the country. People willingly pay Re 1/- in these toilets. The Nirmala toilet was another such programme started by the Infosys foundation. Such schemes must be encouraged by the government.
Cleanliness is a personal issue. Sanitation is not only about the disposal of human waste. It is also about dignity and self respect. Infact, if given a serious thought, Sanitation can be serious business. Unemployed youth in villages can be trained to build, run and maintain toilets and baths. Doordarshan is an excellent medium to spread awareness about healthy sanitation and it’s benefits. Apart from providing a secure place for women and elderly, provision of good sanitation facilities will lead to better health conditions of children, there by saving huge sums of money that could go into the treatment of diseases. Building public toilets could also inspire many to make their own toilets and baths. It could also encourage people to come together to work towards the betterment of their surroundings. This could further lead to them working towards other issues like clean drinking water facilities, environment conservation, household waste disposal etc.
There are enough resources available in our country. There is international support too. All that is required is a well planned national campaign that needs to be taken seriously.
I am sure there must be many other localities like the tank Bund road slum in India. I hope, we fully overcome such pitiful conditions atleast in another fifteen years and each one of us gets to live in dignity.