Aah! A 60’x40′ site in Vijaynagar for Rs 28,000!!

C. NAGANNA writes: The Outer Ring Road (ORR) is the ‘back of beyond’ as far as the people who live in the city-centre. When I settled down in Vijaynagar II Stage nearly ten years ago, roads were just then emerging from ploughing fields and fallow lands.

Emptiness was my neighbourhood, and it was some time before people started constructing houses and I could turn to human beings for my daily transactions. Obtaining the sites was a marathon fight even two decades ago when there was relatively less pressure and clamour.

But thanks to the ‘Asha Mandira Scheme’ introduced by D. Made Gowda, then chairman of the Mysore Urban Development Authority (or was it CITB then?), we were able to get our sites at a “cheap” rate (Rs 28,000 for a 60’ x 40’).

The commercial bug had not bitten the Authority; the IT companies had not turned their antenna toward the vast vacant lands of Mysore; and the City hadn’t begun growing in all directions swallowing the neighbouring villages.

But the pity was Made Gowda’s tenure came to an end soon after he had introduced the scheme. Thus we had to form an association for the distribution of sites.

The Divisional Commissioner was in-charge chairman of MUDA. Obviously, he had little time for addressing our grievances. We had to depend upon the more accessible MUDA Commissioners who directed us, in turn, to meet the Urban Development Ministers to obtain the green signal.

Three or four ministers came and went in quick succession and we developed the art of explaining to them our problem.

Finally, we succeeded. Revanikar was the MUDA Commissioner who was directed by the then Urban Development Minister to distribute sites to us by drawing lots. In this manner, our association distributed sites to some 600 people who had been our members standing by us through thick and thin.

The urban development authority scattered the members in different areas so that we would not congregate to press for other demands. It succeeded in its calculation only partly. Because different associations germinated for demanding basic civic amenities. We got our demands met slowly but steadily. But the fight has been a long-drawn one.

The person who purchased the site next to my house celebrated the “house-warming ceremony”. In fact, on the same day there were similar ceremonies in my immediate neighbourhood. I was happy to hear mangalavadyam emanating from all the houses early in the morning.

One or two of them invited us; others didn’t bother. Am I imagining myself to be their unacknowledged benefactor? But I feel elated all the same.

After all in my neighbourhood there will be people—people to see, people to talk to , people to accost, people to avoid. An extension without people is no extension at all.

This Outer Ring Road will not be like this after one or two years. Already people enquire about the site value day in and day out. The ubiquitous IT wallahs from Bangalore descend on Sundays looking for vacant lots, not worried about the sky-rocketing real estate values induced by middlemen.

My sparsely populated extension would soon be pullulating with people. How wonderful it would be if that is going to be a change for the better!