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Bengaluru's IT hub Whitefield rises in intolerance against lack of infrastructure

Bengaluru's IT hub Whitefield rises in intolerance against lack of infrastructure

Thousands of residents of IT city's Whitefield suburb hit the streets to demand better roads and better infrastructure, demanding solutions in a month.

Bengaluru: Bengaluru's technology hub Whitefield is up in protest. Thousands of residents of IT city's Whitefield suburb hit the streets to demand better roads and better infrastructure, demanding solutions in a month, failing which they have threatened to boycott taxes.

Whitefield, located in the North East of Bengaluru city, is home several top IT companies and International Technology Park Limited (ITPL). Once a quiet suburb exclusively built for the British, Whitefield is now home to millions of new age entrepreneurs and young techies.

Thousands of techies had descended on the streets to demand better roads and other basic infrastructures. Their complaints - "People are dying here", "I spend two hours each way in traffic", "We spend more time in traffic… have no life," etc.

The anger on the streets was palpable with no relief from terrible roads and traffic and non-existent footpaths. With just no way out, Bengaluru's highest-revenue earning IT cluster came out in droves to voice their protest. At a protest organised by Whitefield Rising, techies, residents, elders, and children decided enough is enough.

An angry resident said, "When it comes to taxes, we are not paying peanuts...we pay Rs 26,000 crores in taxes…all for what?"

Another angry parent said, "Our children are stuck in their school buses for hours together."

As sloganeering caught up, the protestors organised themselves in seven human chains, at key junctions. Many skipped office work to lend their two hours to the demonstration, even as a worried Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) tried to control damage. Pot-hole filling work was taken up right in front of the protestors. Some of the craters were being patched up, but citizens demand long-term solutions, priority tackling of 30 critical roads and more traffic policemen on the streets.

Activist and campaigner RK Mishra said, "This is more about desperation. We have also decided that we won't pay taxes from January 1 if there is no improvement."

After the protests, the Whitefielders' did get an assurance. Manjunath Reddy, Bengaluru Mayor said, "I admit the protest was for a right cause. We are keen to do the work. But some gas pipeline work is going on, as well as BWSSB work. This time, Bengaluru faced such rain after 99 years. I can only assure problem will be resolved. We have a Rs 100 crore development package for these two constituencies and things will be better soon."

However, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George refused to comment on the protests. Hopefully, Monday's mammoth protests have hit a sore spot, say the protestors.

first published:November 30, 2015, 17:50 IST