BENGALURU: About 8000 people were estimated to have gathered today near the International Tech Park (ITPL) in Whitefield in a peaceful protest against the apathy of the local government authorities to the bad state of the infrastructure in the area.
The movement, called ” Save Whitefield“, promoted extensively through social media by the citizen movement Whitefield Rising, brought together aggrieved residents and employees of companies in Whitefield, Marathahalli, Nellurahalli, Graphite Junction, Hoodi, KTPO, ITPL, Varthur village.
People gathered at 7 nodal points, formed human chains and after an hour, they all headed towards towards ITPL.
“It went very good. Traffic wardens helped us organize it safely and Brookefield hospital had put up an ambulance booth, in case of an emergencies,” said Utkarsh Singh, who runs his own design business and is a resident of ECC road in Whitefield was one of the people who initiated this movement.
“This is just a peaceful, but urgent reminder to the government that we are together and we want change. We don’t ask to make this Singapore – we just want basic amenities like roads, footpaths and streetlights, ” he said.
The rainfall over the past few weeks is said to have made the conditions of the roads in the area worse and led to cummuters, including school children, being stuck on the road for hours.
“Spontaneous and multiple announcements for protest dates starting pouring in on the Whitefield Rising Facebook and through WhatsApp two weeks back,” said Gautam Mishra, who works in a Multinational Company.
“It is affecting many people personally – people shared stories about accidents or hurting their backs due to potholes or the troubles their children had to face. Two mothers came to me and suggested that we should go to Vidhan Sowdha and block the road the next time,” said Zibi Jamal, a Communication professional who is a member of the citizen group, Whitefield Rising.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD of Biocon and an active member of Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), has expressed her support to the protest on social media. “It is a real shame that Whitefield, which is a big technology hub in Bangalore, is in a state of such bad neglect. There is a huge amount of investment going in, how can you not even provide basic amenities?,” she told media.
Many multinational companies like EMC Corporation and Capgemini Consulting have come forward in the past week to voice their concerns about the bad state of infrastructure. They will not expand any further in the area unless the problems, are fixed, they said.
Whitefield is one of the localities that was under the administration of the Bangalore Development Authority, until it was brought under the administration of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the metropolitan corporation authority few years ago.
Kumar Naik, Commissioner of BBMP, said, “We are fixing the roads and other short-term problems. In the medium-term, there needs to be a better road-network in the area. Right now, there are very few lines serving a very large population. We will be working on that too.”