Bengalurueans now can do a bit more than just ranting about unclean streets. In fact, they can now ‘adopt’ a street to ensure it’s clean and well maintained.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) in association with The Ugly Indian (TUI), an NGO engaged in beautifying the city, initiated ‘adopt a street’ campaign in August. And recently, BBMP has officially put out forms asking its residents to participate in the initiative on social media.
‘Adopt a street’ is a citizen partnership program that gives the residents an opportunity to join hands in making the city a better place to live in, a BBMP official told The Federal.
“It often happens that residents feel the tax money has not been utilised properly or the services we provide are not sufficient enough,” said Randeep Dev, additional commission (SWM&AH), BBMP. “We are not saying BBMP is abdicating its responsibilities with this initiative. We are saying that people can supplement our efforts,” he added.
The primary objective of this initiative is to ensure visual cleanliness and increase the scope of activities that could be taken up to achieve this, like cleaning and greening of streets, walkability and enhancing street facilities. There are also optional activities that involve supporting the BBMP with necessary items like bins, benches etc.
The initiative is an open offer for the residents and it is not being imposed on anyone, added Randeep. Interested residents can adopt a stretch of road as short as only 50 metres.
It is the responsibility of the residents who adopt a street to keep it garbage-free and take care of minor repairs of the pavements. They can also paint the walls, plant saplings and undertake other activities for the purpose of beautification.
If you are interested in being a part of #AdoptAStreetBBMP initiative, pls email at email@example.com in the prescribed application format and you will hear from us. @BBMPCOMM @BBMP_MAYOR @theuglyindian pic.twitter.com/sIxgKoZkrp
— Randeep D (@Randeep_Dev) September 14, 2019
Though the move also welcomes individuals, BBMP feels the initiative will bear fruit with the collective effort of groups while individual efforts will be lost in the long run.
As of now, ‘Adopt a street’ is all about cleanliness. However, if any group volunteers to develop and maintain the entire stretch of a street, the BBMP will welcome it, but not anytime soon. “We have not yet announced such plans since it is the duty of the corporation to maintain streets in the city. Maybe in later days we will think about it,” another BBMP official said.
‘The Ugly Indian’, which is an official partner of BBMP’s visual cleanliness drive, will be coordinating with the corporation and help them in tapping corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding. They will approach companies and channelize funds towards important initiatives.
A volunteer of the NGO told The Federal that these citizen partnership campaigns have enhanced community bonding in Bengaluru and that people are now willingly coming out to clean their streets. “Interestingly, people are not asking why they should be the one doing it,” the volunteer added.
According to him, the initiative also has a lot of hidden agendas like bridging the differences between corporation workers and the residents.
“Generally, the relationship between the citizens and the corporation workers (pourakarmika) is always confrontational. The workers are basically not respected. When residents start working along with them to improve their own streets, it will develop a bridge between them,” he said.
Till Thursday (September 19), the BBMP has received nearly 20 responses from resident welfare groups, companies and individuals. Some corporate house have also come up with CSR funding to take up developmental activities in the city.
Adopt-a-Street ACTION today!
Over 40 ST Bed residents + 15 BBMP staff cleaned 8th Cross ST Bed Koramangala, Blr today, protected 40 trees and fixed one HUGE chronic open garbage dump. All from 9-11am. A fun, productive morning. WELL DONE!@Randeep_Dev @BBMPCOMM #AdoptaStreetBBMP pic.twitter.com/OQOJZHsQ1s
— theugly indian (@theuglyindian) September 15, 2019
In a similar initiative by the citizens, a group of residents in Koramangala had last week protected about 40 trees and fixed an open garbage dump. They were applauded on Twitter for paving the way for many resident welfare associations offering to adopt more streets in the city.