Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mayor dwells on his plans for Mysore's development

Our new Mayor Sandesh Swamy wants to set an example by taking up several initiatives for city's development. In a candid tête-à-tête with Star of Mysore, he shared some of his dreams for city's growth. Excerpts:

SOM: What is your vision for Mysore? How do you hope to achieve this?

Mayor: My vision is to make Mysore a green and pothole-free city. In future, roads will be designed with a slight curvature at the centre so that rain water flows off at the sides and enters the drainage without stagnating on the road. I am thinking of handing over the maintenance of roads to contractors by making them sign a contract for a certain period. Money will be paid to them in installments. Half the amount will be paid as first installment; after successful maintenance, the next installment of 25% will be paid and the last installment will be paid at the end of contract period. The contractors will be held responsible for maintaining the roads. They have to ensure the roads are free of potholes and all necessary repair works are done in time. I am planning to introduce this scheme during my term.

SOM: How do you propose to make people responsible for maintaining clean city?

Mayor: Seeking help from prominent people in the respective locality, I am planning to conduct door-to-door campaign to create awareness among the residents about environmental issues. Awareness programmes will be held for school children also to plant saplings by the roadside and practice hygiene.

It is the responsibility of every resident to ensure the road at least in front of their house is free from garbage and see that garbage is not thrown and water does not stagnate. The residents should also think that they too are partly responsible for maintaining cleanliness of roads.

SOM: Your ambition?

Mayor: I want to do good things during my tenure so that people remember me even after I demit office. The initiatives that I have started should be continued. Like Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, who was the architect of Mysore, I want to do things in the same way.

I want to make Mysore a clean city so that it becomes a model for other cities and it should reach top place with regard to cleanliness. I want to do everything possible in my limits so that the city becomes self-sustained in the coming years.

SOM: There are some roads that cannot be widened unless the shops and houses are demolished. How will you deal with this problem?

Mayor: We have all the powers under the Town Planning Act to acquire buildings that come in the way of widening of roads. We have plans to widen even the prominent roads like Sayyaji Rao Road and Ashoka Road. Though it incurs expenditure involving crores of rupees, it will be taken up in the coming days.

SOM: Any plans to attract more tourists?

Mayor: Mysore city should become a role model for other countries. Just as people visit Switzerland, London and New York, they should be visiting Mysore too. Our city, being already a tourist hub, we have several spots for tourists to visit within a radius of 30-km making it more attractive.

The name of Mysore should become synonymous with Karnataka. Our city's name should be heard in international circles. I want to make arrangements so that visiting tourists get easy accommodation with a clean and hygienic environment. Every tourist coming to the city should rate Mysore as the cleanest city. All this will be done without affecting the heritage status the city already enjoys.

SOM: You have initiated planting of many saplings. But have you appointed anyone to monitor the plants and nurture them?

Mayor: Yes. In future all road widening works will be undertaken without disturbing the road-side trees; the saplings are planted accordingly. We already have 60,000 saplings ready to be planted on road sides. One thousand saplings will be given to each Ward. As the monsoon has just begun, planting the saplings has been taken up.

The Forest Department which provides saplings will issue instructions to the various departments where these saplings have to be planted and the money for planting and maintaining these saplings will be paid only after 4 months of successful planting.

Employees of Vikrant Tyre factory have come forward to plant trees in their neighbourhood. Other factories too should follow this initiative and plant saplings in their surroundings. This will help greening of Mysore.

SOM: Your future plans?

Mayor: At present 350 tonnes of garbage per day is being produced in the city of which 250 tonnes is being recycled. The remaining 100 tonnes is compacted and used for landfill. In the coming days, garbage will be cleared using sweeping machines which will be introduced shortly. The lands will be cleared of all garbage within two months of their accumulation. Plans are afoot to set up four solid waste management plants in four directions of city. One will be shortly set up at Kesare.

Planning to modernise the Devaraja Market at a cost of Rs. 1 crore retaining the heritage structure. Around 1,500 shops will be relocated in the new building. Even the present mutton market will be demolished and the reconstruction work will begin in the next 3 to 4 months.

The Slum Board will take up construction of 6,835 houses spending Rs.160 crores. The construction of houses will be taken up in three stages. It is estimated that each house costs about Rs.3 to 4 lakh.

A tatal of 1,30,000 new pipelines will be laid under JUSCO for providing drinking water. The digging work for laying these pipes has already begun in all the wards and will be completed by 2012.

SOM: How do you propose to tackle cattle menace?

Mayor: On the busy Devaraja Urs and Sayyaji Rao Roads due to cattle menace several vehicles have met with accidents. Through an agreement with Gopalakara Sangha, we have instructed them not to let the cattle's out. If they fail to remove the cattle straying on the roads, they will be sent to Pinjrapole immediately and there will be no compromise on this issue.

SOM: What kind of a person is Sandesh Swamy? What does he do in his free time?

Mayor: I come from a humble village family. Being brought up in a joint family, I have deep family attachments. I am married and blessed with two children. I love playing golf in my free time, reading books, touring and watching movies.

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