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Mud roads, greenery turn into real estate boomtown

Nirmala Govindarajan, TNN | Mar 19, 2012 

BANGALORE: Sloping roads define Jayanagar's geography all the way up to the terrains encompassing JP Nagar into its 5th Phase. Hitting JP Nagar 6th Phase, the terrain turns flat, up to 9th Phase. 

With its vast expanse of mangroves , the first urban settlers arrived in JP Nagar 7th and 8th Phases around 1992. "Until then, people from Puttenahalli and Kothanur villages inhabited the area. When I first came here in 1992, I purchased land at Rs 30 per sq ft," says C Shadakshari Aradhya, member, JP Nagar Federation. 

Notwithstanding mud roads and complete lack of basic amenities, builders and individuals invested in land around here. In time, apartment complexes like Brigade Millennium, L&T South City and Elita Promenade attracted several young investors from the IT and corporate sectors to JP Nagar 7th Phase. People who preferred independent houses, invested in plots, building posh little bungalows at throwaway prices. 

"Today, the real estate price is Rs 6,000 per sq feet on the main road," says Aradhya, who owns a medical store in JP Nagar 7th Phase. 

Hands on 

Over the years, Aradhya has been actively involved in talking to heads of civic bodies to bring water and sanitation facilities to JP Nagar 7th Phase, and has been successful. 

Taking the baton from him was Sundaresh CS, resident of Nrupathunga Nagar, JP Nagar 8th Phase, to ensure water, sanitation and lighting facilities in his area. "Although we have a Nrupathunga Nagar Association, I felt people living in 9th, 10th and 11th Cross were being neglected. So in 2009, I met the local MLA and managed to have the roads tarred and light poles erected. About six months ago, I approached them to take up water and sanitation work, which is in progress. But work is slow because of labour problems. Our asphalted roads have been dug up and there's too much dust around here," says Sundaresh. 

While he plods on with help from cooperative residents like K Prabhu, who allowed for his compound wall to be broken down to allow for sanitation pipes to pass through to the connecting road, residents of Brigade Millennium, South City and Ashtalakshmi Layout in JP Nagar 7th Phase have taken up a lake clean-up drive. 

Bring back the birds 

Home to flora and fauna of exotic species, development around JP Nagar 7th and 8th phases, has killed nature's bounty. Puttenahalli Lake became a mass septic tank and dumping ground for non-degradable debris. In fact, when market research consultant Arathi Manay moved to Brigade Millennium in 2007, she didn't know there was a lake right behind her apartment. "Usha Rajagoplan, a friend who lives in South City, took up the cause of cleaning up the lake. Several of us joined hands and campaigned to nurture Puttenahalli Lake back to its pristine glory. Today, this rain-fed lake attracts 50 species of birds that had stopped coming here," she says. 

Efforts are on, but the lake is turning grey with polluted water from homes where there are no septic tanks. And non-degradable debris is dumped all around, just as in the case of the large Jarganahalli Lake, overlooking Ashtalakshmi Layout, also in JP Nagar 7th Phase. 

Sandeep B, a resident of Ashtalakshmi Layout, grew up here and feels development is rather slow. "We live on lowland overlooking Jaraganahalli Lake. During rainy season, the area was submerged. In 2005, the government took up the 'kere' (lake) project. We now have underground drains and some work seems to be going on. But we can't see water in the lake. There's debris all around and we are swamped by mosquitoes," he says. 

Minus points 

Nearest police station is in Subramanyapura, 7km away. Takes about an hour to get to this station through traffic-ridden roads. With steep rise in commuters, area requires traffic cops to keep accidents in check No sanitation facility. While a few residents have constructed septic tanks, others haven't. Area requires Cauvery water. While some have dug borewells, others haven't and so have inadequate water for their daily requirements. 

Lacks waste management and disposal facility, due to which, garbage collectors dump debris in Puttenahalli and Jaraganahalli lakes. 

The positives 

Area is connected to Bannerghatta Road, and large hospitals like Apollo and Fortis are just 2km away. Cultural centres like Rangashankara, IIMB and the MLR Convention Hall provide ample entertainment Meenakshi Mall is about 2km from here. Big Bazaar, Spencers, Food World and a host of hotels dot the area. Two CBSE schools - Brigade and Capitol - are bang in the heart of the area

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