Quick February takes from the city’s shining lights

Is global cuisine going to kill local fare in Bengaluru? Why are the city's elders being kicked out of home? Is there really any space for the poor here? Bytes from this year's Namma Bengaluru award winners.

Over the past two weeks, Citizen Matters caught up with four of this year’s Namma Bengaluru award winners for quick tete a tetes. The awards were given on February 3rd to ten deserving Bangaloreans at the Bangalore Palace.  

Award winners and jury members at the Namma Bengaluru award ceremony. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

VASUDEV ADIGA
(Entrepreneur of the year)

Entrepreneur of the year Vasudev Adiga, his award from Lokayukta Santhosh Hegde. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

K N Vasudev Adiga, Managing Director of Adigas Fast Food Pvt Ltd started with a darshini in 1993 serving delicious food at affordable prices and today has 12 Fast Food Restaurants in Bangalore and two restaurants on the highways.

What’s happening to local cuisine in Bengaluru with the onslaught of global cuisine?

We have so far not felt the impact of global cuisines entering India as the consumer base is continuously increasing due to dependence of most people on restaurants for their daily food. Besides, the demand for the local cuisines is bound to continue for at least a couple of decades to come and on the contrary, our Udupi cuisines are going global, particularly the all time favourite – Idli, vada, sambar  and dosa. 

It is only the format of providing the food – the visibility, service, hygiene standards and other factors that we need to focus on to compete with the global players for which we need to gear up.

T Raja, winner in the private individual category. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

T RAJA (AUTO RAJA)
(Individual)

T Raja aka Auto Raja was abandoned by his family after he was arrested for a petty crime. After living a life of a destitute he has since devoted his time for the cause of the sick and abandoned people on the streets.

What aspect of the city makes it easy to help the destitute?

People of Bangalore are the biggest help. We have received help from the citizens not only in the form of cash donations but also in kind with things such as medical supplies, food supplies.

What law needs to change?

I am not aware about changes in law that could help me help people. But compassion can go a long way in stopping people from becoming destitute. A lot of families kick sick members out because they have contracted diseases such as HIV or tuberculosis. They also turn out members who have committed petty crimes. Families should help their relatives in rehabilitation rather than kicking them out.

Dr RADHA MURTHY
(Individual)

Dr Radha S Murthy, founder and managing trustee of Nightingales Medical Trust. Pic: Yograj S Mudalgi

Dr Radha Murthy is a pioneer in eldercare in Bangalore with decades of experience in the welfare of the elderly. She was instrumental in starting the successful Nightingales Home Health Services and is currently the Managing Trustee of Nightingales Medical Trust.

Does the city care for its older people?

The elderly are not a priority for many of them. This recognition can help bring the cause to the forefront.

What is the one thing you would change in the city to help older people?

The attitude towards the elderly and understanding about them should change. A support system to live independently has to be created for their well being.

ANITHA REDDY
(This was the star of the awards, Namma Bengalurean of the Year)

Namma Bengalurean of the Year Anitha Reddy. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

Anitha Reddy is the Founding Trustee, of Association for Voluntary Action and Service (AVAS) and has worked for 28 years with urban poor communities living in the slums of Bangalore and Chittoor and in Rural Communities living in the villages of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Where is the space for urban poor in the global metropolis that the city has become?

Where are they now? They are not floating on clouds. That is the starting point of the argument. They are living in spaces they have made livable. They have been ignored by the city. Now the city wakes up to them? We can start working towards resolving the issue by accepting the poor where they are living now.

We have to look at ‘in situ housing’ activities, where slums are developed by building homes at the spot rather than relocating the slum dwellers. In my experience the city has enough. Non-accessibility and non-affordability are the issues. It is a myth that there is no space. Government has to use curative measure.

Another way to resolve the issues is to have a comprehensive city planning where it is ensured that all development keeps in mind the space requirements for the poor. They are the backbone of the city. The land that the government began to auction can very well be also kept towards providing for the betterment of the city.

Slums get relocated for development’s sake. What should change?

To begin with, stop relocating without thinking. In the rare case of relocations which have been done well, like Jaibharath slum where the land was needed for the metro, there has been a good housing program. We have to ensure that if relocation is really necessary, there is adequate housing, medical, education and transport facilities and a competitive compensation package has to be worked out carefully. People participation is key to effective relocation.

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