Bengaluru's civic corporation goes the extra mile to clean up a disputed vacant site

The Ugly Indian, the anonymous city beautification initiative, may have helped clean up some 300 such eyesores across Bengaluru but this case took special effort to fix.

BCCL
hile the weeds are gone and garbage cleaned, the biggest challenge is to keep the area clean going forward. (Representative Image)
BENGALURU: A garbage- and weed-infested empty site behind the Isro headquarters in RMV II Stage has got a dramatic makeover, thanks to a collaboration between The Ugly Indians, local residents and surprisingly-eager city corporation officials, with Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad himself paying a visit to boost this makeover effort.

The Ugly Indian, the anonymous city beautification initiative, may have helped clean up some 300 such eyesores across Bengaluru but this case took special effort to fix. For decades, this patch of land has been at the centre of a dispute between Isro and its supposed owners, making it a magnet for garbage and mosquitoes. For the local pourakarmikas, it was an easy spot to sort — and scatter — an assortment of refuse.

While the city corporation may have been enthusiastic, local corporators and MLAs steered clear of being seen, with the machinations of a looming state election keeping them busy elsewhere. Isro lent tacit approval to this effort, without actively supporting what was a citizen-led and not government-driven initiative. (A Swacch Bharat board is prominently displayed outside the space body’s HQ, a stone’s throw away.) In an operation that lasted nearly twelve hours (interrupted by visits of civic officials, curious onlookers and cows and dogs wondering where their daily garbage staple had vanished), dozens of citizens transformed this location. In this period, citizens and the city corporation (with the commissioner and health inspector both taking an active role), teamed up to deweed the area, brought in mud to even out the land, built and painted a wall around the site and even set up a vigil to keep the area litter-free.


At a time when civic agencies are pilloried for their sloth, residents were surprised by their initiative.

While the weeds are gone and garbage cleaned, the biggest challenge is to keep the area clean going forward. For starters, residents led an overnight vigil to keep habitual garbage dumpers away and stone benches have been installed to encourage locals to visit the area and relax — and keep the spot clean.
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