November 7, 2005

No infrastructure, no tax: Bangalore residents

Mission: To Tell Govt What It Should Do

By Hemali Chhapia/TNN

Bangalore: We won’t pay tax till the government provides infrastructure.
   That’s the ultimatum residents from across the city have served the government. This after they realised their inexorable complaints have been met with government apathy and indifference.
   The fed-up residents have also decided to present government agencies with bills for damages they incurred during the recent rain havoc, and will insist on full refund.
   To achieve their goals, they have decided to: form armies, list out the works that need urgent attention and send memos to government agencies. The clincher: no taxes till works take off.
   “We keep paying taxes and betterment charges but the government does nothing about infrastructure. We have complained several times about the drain not having an outlet, but individual complaints just land in the dustbin. We will pay tax only if the government provides an outlet for the drain,’’ said Surendra B of lower Michaelpalya residents’ welfare association in Indiranagar.
   “We faced a lot of hardship during the rains. When the problem has been identified, why isn’t the government doing anything about it? We hope the ultimatum of ‘no tax’ will wake them up,’’ said another member.
   These sentiments found a lot of echoes across the city. Mahadeva Swamy, secretary of Pai Layout-K R Puram residents’ welfare association, said: “We spent a lot pumping out water and repairing our vehicles. All the damage was because of the callousness of the government. We are collecting copies of all the bills to submit them to the city municipal council for compensation. Unless they pay up, we are not going to pay taxes.’’
   Residents of Mariammanapalya near Hebbal lake have already collected all the bills of the monies they spent when their homes were under five feet of water. Bills of lost furniture, vehicle repair, pesticide spraying along with a letter will be sent to the district collector and the Mahadevapura CMC commissioner seeking compensation.
   Said Colonel Ramachandran, “We want compensation. After all, government is releasing funds for flood victims. Until we receive the money that we have spent and the government begins construction of lining on the sides of the storm water drain and deepening it, we will continue to make noise.’’
   The memorandum that HAL 2nd stage residents’ welfare association recently submitted to the CM’s office, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, BDA, BWSSB and Bescom stated: “We are not going to keep quiet anymore. Isolate our storm water drain from the Domlur drain, fix all the loose wires in our area, build a four-foothigh wall on the sides of the storm water drain. If works do not start, we will take to the streets.’’
   The message from the residents is loud and clear.

Bangalore: Call it janata’s aandolan or the price the government agencies have to pay. Residents have decided that they will not compromise. They want strong infrastructure in the city they call home.
   After the deluge that Bangalore witnessed, members of several residential organisations decided to submit memorandums to the government listing out the works that needed to be carried out in their areas. Most letters stated that the residents would not pay their taxes unless the works start off. More resident welfare associations have joined the bandwagon and have decided to submit the list of works that government agencies need to take up in their areas.
   Said DLV Prasanna, a resident of J P Nagar 5th Phase: “I paid taxes for 2004-05, but now I am not going to do so. The case is the same with many other residents here. We have asked for roads and for streetlights, but nothing is being done.’’ In Putenahalli, social worker A Muniraju said the residents have decided not to pay betterment charges. “No one came to our help when the area was under water. What is the government doing with all the money?’’ he asked.
   Members of the Maruthi Layout
Welfare Association too stated that they would “support’’ the associations that were fighting for a cause. “We have everything in our locality, but we have decided to stand by the other protesting residents,’’ said secretary of the association H N Pattabhiraman.

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